Is another US prodigy in the country’s ever impressive collection of under-23s about to stun the golf world and win a major in these strange, behind-closed-doors times?
Rory McIlroy is certainly one player who believes he can stop the remarkable Matthew Wolff in Sunday's final round of the 120th US Open.
Yet if the 21-year-old follows up his astonishing third-round 65 - so taking a two-shot advantage over countryman Bryson DeChambeau - then the rest must resign themselves to competing for second.
And America will have won 10 successive majors on US soil for the first time in more than 40 year.
History is definitely on the line. If Wolff emulates USPGA champion Collin Morikawa then it would be the first time different players aged 23 or younger have won majors in the same year since 1923. Morikawa is now 23 and could even feel quite old by Sunday evening.
A PGA Tour winner already, Wollf would be the youngest to win a major since Tiger Woods at the Masters in 1997.
We cannot say we were not warned after the Californian - who saw off Morikawa and DeChambeau at the 3M Open 14 months ago - finished fourth on his major debut at Harding Park behind Morikawa four weeks ago.
Wolff has a quirky swing but clearly is blessed with an unerring focus. A British golf writer famously once opined that Jim Furyk’s motion resembled an octopus falling out of a tree. This is similar, minus a few branches perhaps, but there is no doubt that like Furyk, Wolff has everything it takes to win a major. And perhaps way, way more.
If it is remarkable that he hit only two fairways all day and went out in 30 on the front nine - taking just 10 putts - then it is just as extraordinary that he played 19 consecutive holes at Winged Foot before taking a bogey on the 16th. The 17th and 18th are brutes, but he managed to save a par on the 17th and then birdie the forbidding last.
“I tried to shoot as little a score as possible with hitting as a few fairways as possible,” he joked. “It shows me what I can do in the final round. I was fortunate with the lies today, but I was buried on a few occasions and you just have to guess.
“The thing I did the best was when I had good lies in the rough, I made the best of it. I had the lead in Detroit a few months ago when Bryson beat me [at the Rocket Mortgage Classic] and I learned a lot from sleeping on it. I’m looking forward to it”
As the Americans like to say, there remains one question: can he?
McIlroy is counting on the youngster wobbling as he eyes up his first major in six years. Or to put it another way, since Wolff was in high school.
McIlroy was as old as 22 when he won the 2011 US Open, his first major, and he was amazed at Wolff’s feat. “I think anything under par on this course today is a really good score,” he said.
“What Matt has done is ridiculous. The wind is not quite as strong as it was yesterday and maybe played a touch less difficult I'll say. But some of the hole locations are still pretty tricky and got to leave yourself on the right side.
“But yeah, overall 68 out there is a really good score. I’m feeling pretty good that I've got a good chance going into tomorrow. If I go out there tomorrow and shoot another 68, I won't be too far away.”
If McIlroy shoots two-under again, it would take him to one-under and it will require Wolff to shoot 74 to get into a play-off. Of course, there is not only Wolff and DeChambeau, on three-under after a 70 to bypass, but South African Louis Oosthuizen in third on one-under and Xander Schauffele, Harris English and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama on level par.
Pressure is the thing and how McIlroy could do with the crowds. The 31-year-old is a born performer and knows that the crowd would be behind him, especially after his wife Erica gave birth to Poppy two weeks ago. McIlroy was at his mischievous best in suggesting that the New York throngs would have given Reed and DeChambeau some stick on Saturday.
Perhaps it was appropriate that on a layout where the pros have to dissect the fairways that the two most divisive figures in the game were in the final group. Reed and DeChambeau have enjoyed their fair share of controversies and, as McIlroy hinted they would not have been the darlings of the galleries, regardless of their nationality.
“Look, you've got Bryson and P-Reed out in the final group, and any other US Open final grouping you've got those two guys, things are going to be said and tempers are going to flare,” McIlroy said. Indeed.
But there would also be raucous support for Wolff and maybe the silence will help the youngster, too. Except not as far as Schauffele is concerned. “Matt hits it really far, he hits it really high and he's not afraid,” he said. “And yeah, Matt doesn't really care."
DeChambeau makes another birdie
This is developing into a big finish. Another gouge from the rough releases to within birdie range of the front pin at 17 and he rolled the putt in dead weight.
Reed is scrambling...and another par putt misses the left edge. The missed fairways have caught up with him today. That's him two-over for the tournament and six-over for the day.
Reed finds trouble at the 11th
Missed the green a long way to the right and his pitch does not make the putting surface. Needs to get up and down for bogey.
Up ahead, Matt Wolff is on the 15th tee. Winged Foot's finish is very tough, four stiff par fours. His drive turns over a little too much and he will be in the rough left of the fairway.
Back to Reed: he has four and a half feet for bogey at the 11th.
More good stuff from McIlroy on the back nine
Birdied the par five 12th and found the heart of the green on the par three 13th. Now one-over for the tournament - if he could finish at even he would be within striking distance by the end of the day.
Reed and DeChambeau miss the third green way left. Likely dropped shots coming up.
Another missed fairway for Reed
He is giving it the old helicopter finish but he is not getting his drive to cut. That one runs into the left fairway bunker. DeChambeau stands up and hits a pull hook so far left it might be on another hole. That was a gruesome swing, he looks rattled.
Thomas has started with three straight bogeys to drop back to one over. Bogey too for Harris English on the second but Cabrera Bello has made a great save from a plugged lie in a bunker.
Shocking stuff from DeChambeau
He left his birdie putt around 12 foot short and then barely got his par putt to the hole. That's a bogey five after a 325-yard drive to the middle of the fairway, really sloppy.
Reed holds his nerve though and buries his par putt. That's a bit of a dagger for Bryson. The lead extends to two.
What a start for Matt Wolff
Two birdies in his first four holes and just two off the lead now. DeChambeau found the middle of the green at the first but it is not in birdie range, while Reed had to pitch out into the fairway. It is a delightful third from Reed though from 70 yards or so, and it stops just five feet from the pin. A great chance to save par.
DeChambeau and Reed on the first tee
DeChambeau out with the big stick and he launches one down the left centre that carries 297 yards through the air. The ideal start.
Reed up next, not as long as Bryson, and is opening tee shot is a pull into the left rough. Another chance for Reed to show his enviable recovery game.
Not a good start from Thomas
He bogeyed the first, and then has hit a duck hook off the second tee when trying to peel a fade off the left bunkers. Back at the first, Harris English has fired an iron shot right over the top of the pin and will have six feet for birdie.
At the fourth, Matsuyama has entered the top 10 after another birdie.
Some early birdies around
Brendon Todd and Matt Wolff have moved into red figures for the tournament. McIlroy did well to get his second shot greenside at the ninth and he got the ball up and down for birdie. Now one-over as he makes the turn and just five shots off the lead. He has played beautifully on the front nine.
Rock solid from McIlroy on the second
Another fairway found and another iron shot to the heart of the green on this par four. Sound start from McIlroy.
Back at the first...Johnson managed to get his second to the greenside rough but his pitch leaves him 10 feet or so for par. He was actually so far left off the tee he found the semi-rough on the ninth! But his par putt drifts right so that's a bogey start.
Playing partner Thomas Detry has bogeyed the first to drop back to four-over.
Loose iron shot from McIlroy
Slightly pulled his approach to the back of the first green when the hole is cut to tight to the right, leaving himself a frightful triple-breaker from more than 50 feet. To his credit, McIlroy cleaned up for par with a return putt from a good eight feet.
Dustin Johnson tees off with driver at the first...and it is a huge hook that gets stuck behind some trees in the deep rough. That was a little wild.
Some selected tee times to mark your card
5.02 Cameron Smith, Rory McIlroy
5.13 Thomas Detry, Dustin Johnson
5.24 Daniel Berger, Lee Westwood
5.35 Renato Paratore, Lucas Glover
5.46 Webb Simpson, Viktor Hovland
5.57 Billy Horschel, Tony Finau
6.08 Stephan Jaeger, Jon Rahm
6.19 Louis Oosthuizen, Joaquin Niemann
6.30 Bubba Watson, Hideki Matsuyama
6.41 Brendon Todd, Matthew Wolff
6.52 Xander Schauffele, Thomas Pieters
7.14 Harris English, Rafa Cabrera Bello
7.25 Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed
They rub people up the wrong way, but these leaders can golf their ball
Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed are unlikely to trouble the engravers at any popularity contests, but they do make for a fascinating final two-ball on the third day of the US Open at Winged Foot.
DeChambeau has been true to his word by attacking the course at every opportunity and pursuing a 'bomb and gouge' strategy off the tee, and even in yesterday's tougher conditions it paid off.
Reed has a short-game from heaven and relishes events where par is a good score. He is also a fantastic match-player and Geoff Ogilvy, winner of the US Open the last time it was held at Winged Foot in 2006, was a previous WGC World Matchplay champion. A positive link potentially?
Reed said: "I love the grind, I love getting in there and I love when it's hard, when you have to be creative on all different golf shots. And I always enjoy playing with Bryson. It's kind of one of those things that we go out there, and I think around here it's not really as much on who you're playing with because you're out there attacking the golf course."
For my money Justin Thomas is still very well positioned after playing his final eight holes in two-under to recover from a double-bogey on his 10th yesterday. His head could easily have exploded at that point but he kept his poise, and you sense he may have got his so-so round out of the way.
With the greens drying out and a fresh breeze, all 62 players who made the cut will feel they have a chance of a very high finish with two good rounds. Anything under the par of 70 can propel a player 20 or so places up the leaderboard.
Harris English and Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello are also sitting pretty at two-under with just six players in red figures.