Matthew Wolff leads the US Open after 54 holes despite hitting just two fairways in his third round of 65

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Is The Art Of Hitting Fairways Dead At The US Open?

Winged Foot is a brutally-difficult golf course and has been an exceptional venue for this week’s US Open.

However, the thick rough that was promised simply hasn’t been able to punish wayward drives for the top players in the way that we may have thought.

Matthew Wolff takes a two stroke lead into the final round after a stunning 65 where he hit just two fairways.

Despite finding the rough off of every par 4 and par 5 tee barring two holes, he managed to hit 13 greens and made six birdies in his third round.

He has hit just 29% of fairways after three days, which is down in T59th for the field – yet he is still five under par thanks to huge hitting, precision iron play and an electric short game.

But should the US Open leader really be that far down on fairways hit? Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter don’t think so.

“12 fairways after 54 holes. That is incredible to be -5 after 3 rounds. This tournament used to be about hitting fairways and greens,” the former World No.1 tweeted.

Ian Poulter replied saying, “Not anymore.”

Brendon Todd leads the field in fairways hit with 71% (30 out of 42), having hit 18 more fairways than Matthew Wolff.

However, his straight driving is not getting the benefits he might have hoped for as he is five over and 10 adrift of the 21-year-old leader.

Bryson DeChambeau is second place after three rounds and he is also down the driving accuracy list with 40% of fairways hit.

However, Bryson is now the game’s longest hitter and he has still managed to hit 35 out of 54 greens so far.

Many players have commented on how straight driving at Winged Foot is a must so it does seem strange how the leaders have managed to score so low without hitting a great deal of fairways.

Perhaps the rough is patchy and they’ve been getting away with their lies, or perhaps the length they’re hitting the ball is giving them a huge advantage.

“You know, you’ve got to think 14 years on [since last Winged Foot US Open] the game has changed a lot, guys hit it further, equipment,” Rory McIlroy said.

“There’s a lot of different things that — scoring averages have went down a little bit, on average. The game has just moved on a little bit and everyone has collectively, I think, just got a little bit better.”

Related: US Open Leaderboard – Who is leading at Winged Foot?

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