What they said: The best of the quotes ahead of the final round of the US Open

We’re all set for a dramatic conclusion to the third Major of the year with Rory McIlroy, Bryson DeChambeau and Jon Rahm chasing a vulnerable leading trio.

Best bets

Rory McIlroy to win at 11/2

Bryson DeChambeau to win at 11/2

Jon Rahm to win at 11/1

There's a touch of the game park about the final round of the 2021 US Open at Torrey Pines.

Canada's Mackenzie Hughes, South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen and the American Russell Henley lead by two shots on 5-under 208, but each one of them possesses a distinct vulnerability that gives them a gazelle-like quality.

One of them may very well sprint clear of their predators on Sunday, yet they're also in clear sight on the Californian plain (in reality, the cliff tops of San Diego): Hughes has never finished top 30 in a Major; Henley's never landed a top 10 in them; Oosthuizen is yet to win in America and frequently pulls up short in the Majors.

Behind them - respectively prowling, growling, scowling - are Rory McIlroy and Bryson DeChambeau on 3-under, with Jon Rahm a shot further back (alongside novice hunter Scottie Scheffler and a man even named like a predator, Matthew Wolff).

After posting a bogey-free third round of 68 defending champion DeChambeau acknowledged that his hunting skills remain a work-in-progress.

"You've got to be really patient at the Majors," he said. "It's not easy to do. My first few goes, I was not successful or anywhere near successful.

"I feel like I'm starting to understand how to play it, how to manage my game, my attitude and just my patience level. If I can continue to do that tomorrow, I have a good chance. But if they make it hard and tuck the pins, it's going to be hold on to your horses."

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To maintain the metaphor close to breaking point, his approach to the pursuit remains Hemingway-like. In other words, not very subtle.

"I'm hitting driver off of pretty much every hole," he said, before possibly getting a little muddled about whether this week does or does not suit the manner of attack with which he won the title last September.

"I think the Winged Foot play is kind of what's going on this week so far," he insisted. "But at Winged Foot it just seemed like they were all coming out dead no matter what. There were never really any jumpers (out of the rough) so I didn't have to contend with that. I do this week."

We're all set for a thrilling finale. Let's take a closer look at what the other leading contenders had to say.

Mackenzie Hughes (tied first) on contending in a major

"I'm excited. Get goosebumps thinking about it, so I know I'm going to be nervous. I essentially played today around the lead, but it'll feel different tomorrow being in that last group. Mentally tell yourself the same things, though, and I'm going to try to embrace the moment.

"I've had pizza the last two nights, so a strong chance I'll eat it again tonight. I'm not that superstitious, but I am a little superstitious."

Louis Oosthuizen (tied first) on his Major experience

"For some reason I just play good when the Majors come around. I think it's because tough golf courses I sometimes just focus a little better. Every time I learn something more about my game and what to do under the pressure. I'm definitely a lot more patient than when I was young. I think I was too dumb when I won the Open to get nervous and to know what was going on."

Russell Henley (tied first) on the US Open test

"Didn't hit it as well on the back, but never been in that situation before, so overall I felt pretty comfortable. I'm 32, I don't know how many more good years I have of golf left, hopefully a lot. You always wonder what it would feel like to be in-contention. I'm excited. Getting rewarded for being mentally tough and just hitting good shots under pressure is kind of what the US Open seems to be about. You can't fake it around a US Open course. You have to have everything going. I like that."

Rory McIlroy (tied fourth, two back) on his chances

"Definitely the best that I've played this week. Hit a lot of fairways starting out, hit a lot of greens, gave myself a lot of birdie chances. Didn't actually make that many, but I just stayed really patient knowing that, if you're not making bogeys out there, you're not losing ground.

"I thought like two 68s over the weekend was going to have a good chance. I've done the first part of that job. Now it's up to me tomorrow to go out and try to play a similar round of golf. I'm just excited for the opportunity to have a chance and be in one of the final groups."

Jon Rahm (tied sixth, three back) on his Sunday approach and a first Father's Day

"Simple: shoot as low as I can. I feel like it's to my advantage that I've played good golf here in the past. I've had some good Sundays at Torrey Pines and I'm confident about tomorrow. Somebody will get a fast start, hopefully that's me, and I keep it going. It's also cool that I have my dad here. So we have three generations of Rahms and it was my first win out here. Hopefully, I can make another breakthrough tomorrow."

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Matthew Wolff (tied sixth, three back) on a second US Open in-contention

"I'm in a little different spot which, in my opinion, might be even a little easier. Holding the lead last year, I definitely didn't sleep well the Saturday night. I was really anxious. But I think coming from behind, if I get off to a good start, maybe slightly better greens than the final group, that might give me a little bit of an advantage."

Scottie Scheffler (tied sixth, three back) on form and the grind

"I came in here expecting to play well. I had a good week at Memorial. Then I hit the ball so poorly in the first round, probably as bad as I've hit the ball all year, and I was still under-par, just the way I was chipping and putting and kind of grinding. That was a really good feeling, gave me a ton of confidence.

"I enjoy the grind. It eliminates a lot of guys. Just one of those deals. I think if I was playing great on a birdie-fest I would feel good there, too. But I really do enjoy the grind of a US Open mentally and physically."

Dustin Johnson (tied ninth, four back) on setting a target

"At the beginning of the week I said I'd like to sit in the clubhouse with 5-under. Depends on how they set up the course tomorrow, what the weather does. But still, 5-under is still going to be a pretty good number I would imagine."

PlanetSportBet prices Oosthuizen 10/3, DeChambeau 11/2, McIlroy 11/2, Henley 7/1 and Hughes 8/1.

Here's how the odds looked pre-tournament:

READ MORE: Can Rory McIlroy break the Major drought in style? Final round preview of the US Open

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