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NOTES AND QUOTES – THE 121ST U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP ON NBC (THIRD ROUND)

“Three big-time stars made big-time moves today – Rory, Bryson and Dustin Johnson giving themselves a chance.” – Paul Azinger on the third round

“He’s one of those guys where when he gets it going, he doesn’t back up. He’s proved that previously in his three PGA TOUR wins.” – Dan Hicks on Russell Henley

“He’s going to have the Canadian people conflicted whether to watch the hockey tomorrow or watch Mackenzie Hughes trying to win a U.S. Open.” – Azinger, with the Montreal Canadiens playing in the Stanley Cup Semifinals

“Another eagle has landed here on a Saturday at Torrey Pines. If you’re watching, Tiger, I hope a smile came to your face.” – Dan Hicks after Louis Oosthuizen’s eagle on 18

STAMFORD, Conn. – June 19, 2021 – NBC Sports presented third round coverage of the 121st U.S. Open Championship from Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, Calif., on NBC, capped by Live From the U.S. Open on GOLF Channel.

Russell Henley, Mackenzie Hughes, and Louis Oosthuizen are tied atop the leaderboard (-5) with a two-shot lead after third round play, with Bryson DeChambeau and Rory McIlroy two shots back at -3.

Final round coverage begins tomorrow at 10 a.m. ET on GOLF Channel and Peacock and continues at Noon ET on NBC.

U.S. Open – Third Round Leaderboard

PlayerTotal
Russell Henley-5
Mackenzie Hughes-5
Louis Oosthuizen-5
Rory McIlroy-3
Bryson DeChambeau-3

On the third round

Paul Azinger: “Three big-time stars made big-time moves today – Rory, Bryson and Dustin Johnson giving themselves a chance.”

Justin Leonard: “Torrey Pines, it’s a course that most every player in the field is very familiar with...It creates that drama and I think it’s an advantage for players that we don’t normally see in major championships contending - meaning Russell Henley and Mackenzie Hughes...I think that familiarity has led to a lot of parity on this leaderboard.”

On Russell Henley

Dan Hicks: “He’s one of those guys where when he gets it going, he doesn’t back up. He’s proved that previously in his three PGA TOUR wins.”

On Mackenzie Hughes

Hughes to Steve Sands on his eagle putt on the 13th hole: “I know Tiger was further right (in 2008), this putt was going right to left…the charge through your body when the ball goes into the hole and the crowd goes wild is kind of why we play. I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it.”

Azinger on Hughes, who missed five consecutive cuts heading into the U.S. Open: “You can be in a slump and you’re just a swing or two away at this level – the switch can just flip.”

Azinger: “He’s going to have the Canadian people conflicted whether to watch the hockey tomorrow or watch Mackenzie Hughes trying to win a U.S. Open.”

Jim “Bones” Mackay on Hughes’ pairing with Kevin Streelman: “You get the feeling this has been a fantastic pairing for Mackenzie Hughes. He and Kevin Streelman have been getting along tremendously well, having a lot of fun out here. Kevin was teasing Mackenzie a lot about how far he drove it past him here at 18.”

On Louis Oosthuizen

Dan Hicks on Louis Oosthuizen’s eagle at 18: “Another eagle has landed here on a Saturday at Torrey Pines. We saw (Mackenzie) Hughes eagle the 13th earlier, which Tiger did in 2008, and Oosthuizen with an ode to history with the first eagle of the day today, just like Tiger did at 18 in 2008. If you’re watching Tiger, I hope a smile came to your face.”

Azinger: “You just get the feeling that this guy is ready to win another major…I’ve been liking Louis Oosthuizen, he feels like he’s due.”

On Bryson DeChambeau

Hicks: “Every drive is like a long drive show. He hits as hard as he can and then he takes a couple of steps back like the guys at the World Long Drive contest do. It’s working. DeChambeau has not abandoned that bomb-and-gouge method that won him the U.S. Open last September.”

Azinger on DeChambeau hitting five-of-14 fairways in the third round: “Normally, you would say that he has to do better than that tomorrow. But I’m not sure he does. He’s had a zillion chances for birdie today.”

John Wood: “And I think half of the ones that he missed were tactical. I don’t think he was trying to hit the fairway on those.”

DeChambeau to Steve Sands on blocking distractions and comments from the crowd: “For me, I’ve learned to turn it into a compliment. Everyone thinks there’s a negative connotation to it. They can say what they want, but at the end of the day, I’m out here playing and contending for a major championship…when people say things, I look over and smile and appreciate that.”

On Richard Bland

Hicks: “The king of perseverance.”

Azinger on Bland after his shot in water on 18th hole: “It’s heartbreaking. He hasn’t played that poorly for the score that he’s shooting. He’s hit a lot of quality shots, just hasn’t been able to get anything out of it, and he’s come undone at the end.”

On Matthew Wolff

Notah Begay III on Matthew Wolff, who hit two fairways in the third round: “Of those misses, only one has been left of the fairway. Every other one has been to the right. There is something happening in his golf swing where he’s just not squaring it up at the right time.”

--NBC SPORTS--