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US Open 2024: Collin Morikawa charges into major contention as Scottie Scheffler fades at Pinehurst No 2

Collin Morikawa carded a bogey-free 66 in third round of US Open to move to level par at Pinehurst No 2; Morikawa chasing third major victory after wins at 2020 PGA Championship and The Open a year later; watch the final round live on Sunday from 2pm on Sky Sports Golf

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Colin Morikawa played himself into contention at the US Open after a bogey-free third round of 66

Collin Morikawa has refused to give up hope of US Open victory after charging into contention at Pinehurst No 2, a course Shane Lowry described as "mental torture" for players.

The two-time major champion went into the weekend nine behind, having only made the cut with a shot to spare, but surged through the field with a brilliant bogey-free 66 on Saturday morning.

Morikawa birdied his opening hole of the day and added three more on the back, lifting him to level-par for the tournament and within five strokes of halfway leader Ludvig Åberg - who had yet to tee off on a day where the majority of the field were struggling to break par.

Image: Morikawa is in the hunt to win a fourth major title

Asked what his goal would now be on Sunday, Morikawa - who could move three-quarters of the way to a career Grand Slam - said: "To win. If I play the way I did today, who knows what could happen. This course is only going to get tougher.

"I know it's not going to be easy. Today was not easy by any means. I just put it in the right spot, kept the ball in front of me and played very simple golf.

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Shane Lowry makes it back-to-back birdies with a sensational hole-out from the bunker during the third round of the US Open

"Made up and downs, putted a lot from off the fringe. Just made the putts that I needed to. Yesterday, I think I missed everything that I could have made. First day was kind of a little bit of both, so it was nice to see putts go in.

"Just kind of build on that hopefully. Look, even par, I was trying to get to that today, so very happy."

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Scheffler considers schedule switch after 'frustrating' week

Scottie Scheffler was a hot favourite to claim his third major title and came into the week on the back of his fifth victory of the season in the Memorial Tournament, which is hosted by Jack Nicklaus, although he admitted he felt the effects of a gruelling weekend at Muirfield Village.

"I think in terms of prep work for a week that I know is going to be as tough as this, I'm leaning going forward to maybe not playing the week before," Scheffler said after a third-round 71. "Especially going around Jack's place, which can be pretty close to a US Open set-up, especially the way it was playing on the weekend.

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Highlights from the final day of The Memorial Tournament on Sunday, where Scottie Scheffler held on for a fifth PGA Tour win of the season

"I did most of my damage under par there at the beginning of the week, so I think going into the major championships, especially the ones we know are going to be really challenging, it may be in my best interests to not play the week before. That's stuff for me to figure out later in the year.

The 27-year-old, who made the halfway cut on the mark of five over par after a birdie-free 74 on Friday, carded two birdies and three bogeys on Saturday to record a fourth consecutive over-par round for the first time in his major career.

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We take a closer look at Scheffler's stats at the US Open during the third round and explain why they do not read well for the world No 1

"Another frustrating day," Scheffler added. "Today was a day where I thought I played a lot better than my score. I'm having a lot of trouble reading these greens. I had a lot of putts today where I felt like I hit it really good. I looked up and they were not going the way I thought they were going to go.

"I felt like the last 27 holes I've played, I've hit it really nice, but I just haven't been able to hit it quite close enough, which is difficult around this course."

Lowry: Level par could win in Pinehurst 'mental torture'

Lowry predicted level par would have a great chance to win the US Open after experiencing "absolute mental torture" in the third round, where he carded three birdies and three bogeys in a round of 70 to stay on five over.

"It's torture out there, honestly it's absolute mental torture," the former Open champion said. "That's the best level par I've ever shot in my life. Every single shot you have, even when you hit a good shot the putts you have, it's brutally difficult.

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Shane Lowry makes it back-to-back birdies with a sensational hole-out from the bunker during the third round of the US Open

"You're standing in the middle of the fairway on par fours with an eight iron in hand and you're like 'right, where will I miss this' instead of thinking where will I hit it. It's not much craic out there to be honest.

"It's obviously firmer than it was the last few days. It's way windier. The wind's in a different direction so some of the par fours are really long. You really just have to manage your way well around there and I did a great job today."

Who will win the third men's major of the year? Watch the US Open live on Sky Sports. Live coverage of the the final round begins on Sunday from 2pm on Sky Sports Golf. Stream the US Open and more with NOW.

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