BROOKLINE, MA – On a wild and windy Saturday in Boston, Mother Nature and The Country Club teamed up to take on all comers, at times making some of the world’s greatest golfers look like mere mortals, other times like Thursday night beer leaguers. In the end, the two who sat atop the leaderboard survived more than thrived.
Will Zalatoris and Matthew Fitzpatrick share the 54-hole lead at the U.S. Open and will take a one-shot lead over Jon Rahm into Sunday’s finale which promises to be filled with more drama and all kinds of carnage.
The 25-year-old Zalatoris produced the day’s best round, signing for a 67, comprised of one bogey against four birdies.
“Yeah, that was brutal,” said Zalatoris. “When I made a mistake, I made sure I was on the fat side of the green or having room where I could maybe at least chip one up there to 8, 10 feet.
“I think it took a lot of discipline today. I mean, we didn’t aim at a single flag even with some wedges just because you really only have a foot or two to deal with on these greens in some situations.”
“Normally guys out here when they have wedges in their hand, they’re firing at pins no matter what the situation was, but it’s just a lot of patience and giving myself as many 15- to 25-footers as I could, and obviously, a couple happened to go in today, and it felt pretty good.”
Fitzpatrick, who won the U.S. Amateur at The Country Club in 2013, posted a Saturday round of 68 to join Zalatoris atop the leaderboard in Brookline.
Afterwards, the 27-year-old Englishman cited his newfound length off the tee for his improved play.
“Yeah. I think that’s been a big, big thing this week, and certainly the last few weeks really, just noticing me playing with other guys and being level to pass them consistently,” said Fitzpatrick.
“As I said the other day, I drove it really well with DJ the last few days, and you look at the success he has had in his career driving it that distance. You know, he has taken advantage of that.
“Now for me I feel like I’ve got to take advantage of that myself.”
“I’ve got to focus on tomorrow. I’ve got to stick to my game plan,” said Morikawa, 25, who could become the youngest player in history to win three different majors.
“I’ve got to make sure I don’t run out of steam, which I kind of have been through that kind of little stretch after nine holes.
“I’ve just got to figure out a way to focus a little bit deeper and really get dialed in for the next 36.”
Rahm, the defending champion, held the lead on the 18th tee, but a costly double bogey on the final hole dropped the Spaniard one off the pace, into solo third place.
“Good round of golf,” said Rahm, trying to stay positive. “It was obviously extremely difficult conditions, the wind being a little bit higher and stronger than the last few days, a different direction. Then the course being a little bit firmer, right, that’s just a recipe for difficulty.
“I played good. It’s a good round of golf.
“Obviously, I think a lot of people are just thinking about 18. The truth is, 18, it was six good shots. Unfortunately, it added up to 6, but it was all good swings.
“If anything, it was maybe a choice or a decision on the fairway bunker, but swings were good, so execution was proper. So I’m happy about that in that sense.
“A couple of the holes like that 3-wood on 17 or 14 or the driver on 12, it paid off, so it’s just things that happen in golf.”
One further back was world No.1 Scottie Scheffler, who at one point held a two-shot lead after holing out for eagle on the par-5 8th hole, but a double bogey on the par-3 11th was followed by three straight bogeys on 12, 13 and 14, resulting in five dropped shots in a four-hole span. The reigning Masters champion got one shot back with a birdie on 17 to post 71 and settle on 2-under par total.
“Yeah, sure. Got off to a really good start,” said Scheffler. “I had that eagle on 8. Put myself in a good position, and then I had a bad shot on 11 over that green. I mean, bogey would have been really good back where I was. I ended up with double.
“After that I didn’t really play that bad. I just made three bogeys in a row. I guess I hit a bad shot. I think the second one on 14 was bad. Other than that, I didn’t do anything that bad. It’s just U.S. Open. Things happen like that, and they happen quickly.
“Fortunately, I was able to kind of right the ship and hang in there and make a birdie on 17 and a good par on 18 to finish off the round.”
Home favorite Keegan Bradley was also 2 under, following a third-day 69. The 2011 PGA champion was one of only seven players to score in the red on Saturday. As he walked up 18, the native son received a standing ovation that rocked the hallowed grounds in Brookline.
“I’ve been asked about it a ton since I’ve been finished, and honestly, it was one of the most amazing moments of my entire life,” said an emotional Bradley.
“I got to feel what it feels like to play in Fenway, to play in the Garden, to play in Gillette Stadium. I felt like a Boston player there.
“That was a moment I’ll never forget the rest of my life, and I appreciate the fans giving me that, and I hope to have them cheer again tomorrow.”
Canadian Adam Hadwin, the round-one leader, was also in the T4 group, following an even-par 70.
Sam Burns (71), Rory McIlroy (73) and Joel Dahmen (74) were one further back on 1 under par, one clear of Nick Hardy (73) who rounded out the top-10 leaders.
2022 U.S. Open Leaderboard
Top 10 Leaders: Round 3
Pos-Player-To Par (Rd 2)
1. Will Zalatoris -4 (-3)
1. Matt Fitzpatrick -4 (-2)
3. Jon Rahm -3 (+1)
4. Keegan Bradley -2 (-1)
4. Adam Hadwin -2 (E)
4. Scottie Scheffler -2 (+1)
7. Sam Burns -1 (-1)
7. Rory McIlroy -1 (+3)
7. Joel Dahmen -1 (+4)
10. Nick Hardy E (+3)
1. Scottie Scheffler -2 (T4)
2. Jon Rahm -3 (3)
3. Rory McIlroy -1 (T7)
4. Patrick Cantlay +3 (T25)
5. Justin Thomas +3 (T25)
6. Cameron Smith +6 (MC)
7. Collin Morikawa +2 (T17)
8. Viktor Hovland +7 (MC)
9. Sam Burns -1 (T7)
10. Jordan Spieth +3 (T25)
Video: Round-3 Highlights
The best shots from Round 3 of the 2022 U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., which includes a hole-out eagle from Scottie Scheffler.
2:01 pm – Hardy (E), Dahmen (-1)
2:12 pm – McIlroy (-1), Burns (-1)
2:23 pm – Scheffler (-2), Hadwin (-2)
2:34 pm – Bradley (-2), Rahm (-3)
2:45 pm – Zalatoris (-4), Fitzpatrick (-4)
Odds To Win
1. Matt Fitzpatrick (+350)
1. Will Zalatoris (+350)
3. Jon Rahm (+375)
4. Scottie Scheffler (+550)
5. Rory McIlroy (+900)