SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – Daniel Berger teed off in the day’s seventh group 11 strokes off the lead and nearly five hours before front-runner Dustin Johnson.
By the time the wild day ended, Berger was tied for the lead and bound for the final tee time on Sunday alongside Tony Finau, who made his own meteoric charge on Day 3.
Berger birdied three of his first six holes before the winds began to dry Shinnecock Hills and added three more on his closing loop for a 4-under 66 to match the week’s best round and vault into the lead.
“It was a nice change, considering the first day I didn't make one,” Berger said. “It had a lot more to do with my putter than it did necessarily my ball-striking because with a lot of these pin positions, you really can't hit it that close to the flagstick.”
Finau, who also began the day 11 strokes off the lead, was just as impressive, matching Berger’s 66 with three consecutive birdies to start the back nine and a 35-footer for birdie at the last to close his day.
“If I can feed off the energy I had late in today's round and continue that momentum into tomorrow, it will be fun,” said Finau, who rebounded after starting his day with bogeys at Nos. 2 and 3. “This is what we play for. This is what we practice for, put ourselves in contention and just in a good position going into Sunday.”