With heavy rain preventing play in the uncompleted round three until around midday today, the third round was eventually completed at 4.30pm with the first players out in round four then teeing off at 5.45 pm. Darkness eventually brought play to a halt and when it did Lucas Glover and Ricky Barnes were tied in the lead at 7 under.
When day four finally got underway, Barnes moved quickly to 11 under with a birdie at the second and an eagle at the 4th. By then he had established a three shot lead which would become six when his nearest pursuer Glover stumbled in the middle of his round by dropping four shots in three holes just before the turn.
Glover bounced back with a superb closing nine of 32 to finish his opening 54 holes at 7 under and had moved within one of Barnes who was home in 37 to be at 8 under and just one ahead.
Barnes and Glover had a wait of three hours before they would start their final round and completed only one hole before they could go no further. When play was called, Barnes who had dropped a shot at the first was in danger of dropping another shot at the second.
Barnes and Glover would head for their respective hotel rooms in the knowledge that they had a five shot lead over Phil Mickelson, David Duval, Hunter Mahan and Ross Fisher but both are aware of the task ahead and the significance of the occasion. Mike Weir was one further back completing a group of just seven players who are now under par.
Five players are at even par and although seven shots behind might yet fancy their chances. That group includes Tiger Woods, Retief Goosen who own five US Open titles between them and, in the event of a stumble by either or both of the leaders, are not too far back.
Michael Sim and Adam Scott are the leading Australians at present. Sim is playing in the presence of Tiger Woods in round four but is still producing an outstanding debut at the US Open. A double bogey in the closing darkness brought unstuck an encouraging start to his final round when he had produced five solid pars to get things underway but he has been very impressive at this level.
Scott has been a surprise given his recent form. He recovered from a horror start to his third round before two late bogeys saw him finish with 73. He dropped a shot at the first hole of his final round but has performed better than many felt he would leading into the event.
After a third round of 77 had cost Geoff Ogilvy any chance of contending he added salt to the wound with a double bogey to start round four and is at 9 over and in 47th position.