Heading into the final round on four under, Grace shares top spot with Australian Jason Day and Americans Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson.
Grace said it was like a dream to be leading the US Open.
“I can’t wait. Tomorrow is going to be a good one,” said Grace after his round.
“Like I said, this is what we play golf for. So it’s my dream to lead a tournament or tying the lead. To go into a tournament like the US Open, having a chance to win my first major is something special.”
Grace, a six-time European Tour winner, began his round with four straight pars before finding a fairway bunker on the par four fifth. From there the 27-year-old hit a piercing nine-iron to inside eight feet, and duly rolled in the putt to get his round going. Another birdie at the par five eighth followed, to go two under for his round. But on the par three ninth, Grace could only manage bogey and two further drops followed on 12 and 13. A final birdie on the par three 15th came as Grace parred the last three to tie the lead.
“I actually played some great golf and the concentration slipped a little bit around the turn. I’m still happy,” said Grace.
While many would have expected Grace to slip away from the top of the leaderboard, the former Ernie Els foundation member kept his nerve in the brutally difficult conditions.
“I played really good today under the pressure. Going one behind going into the third round, moving day, was a tough one.
“I think I’m in a good frame of mind after today going into tomorrow. Tomorrow is just going to be another tough grind. The course really firmed up towards the end and played really bouncy and tricky. They tried to catch us with a couple of holes like 15, 16, and 17. Pushing the tee boxes up so far really toughened it up. It was a tough grind. I’m just happy I’m still in a good position.”
Els who played a couple practice rounds with Grace earlier in the week, said the young South African with his penetrating ball-flight was well-suited to the layout.
“Of the South Africans he has the best chance, because he hits the ball really low with his driver,” said Els.
“He doesn’t put any shape on it, so it’s dead straight when he’s on. So he gets good length, he’s a really good iron player and he’s been working on his putting. He’s got the all-around game for this place.”
While Grace will have the best chance of the South Africans to collect the US Open trophy on Sunday, Louis Oosthuizen vaulted himself into contention with the low round of the day as he fired a four under par 66. The efforts of the 2010 British Open Champion left him on one under and just three off the lead in fifth place.
Charl Schwartzel ended on two over for the three rounds after a one under 69 on the day in a tie for 15th. George Coetzee was further down in tied 46th on seven over, while Els and Thomas Aiken were a further shot behind in a share of 58th. – ANA
Original source: Grace poised for Major success