Brooklyn, Mass – The U.S. Open usually waits for the last day of its 72-hole pot to play with the world’s best golfers. But perhaps because of this year’s respectable host history, disturbing conditions – raging winds, thick rough and fast grass – began to crush the will and stifle the players’ souls 24 hours earlier, outside Boston, at the Country Club.
With scores lower than the rarity, the top repair of Saturday’s third-round leaderboard was frequent. Eventually, some of this year’s most popular golfers were left in the fray, joining a few lesser-known names to determine what figures would be the fun of the last-round slot golf course called by one of the leaders, Will Zalatori. “The Absolute Beast.”
Zalatoris’s definitive 67th round left him with four points for the championship, equal to England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick, who scored 68 points on Saturday. John Rahm, the reigning U.S. Open champion, lost the lead in the round and was one step behind Zlatori and Fitzpatrick.
Rahm started the obstacle in his first 13 holes to make three birds from the 14th to the 17th hole. That took him to the top five for the championship.
But Rahmi’s drive dribbled from 18th Tea into the bunker on the left side of the firwe. Rahm’s first attempt to clear the high lip of the bunker failed and his ball bounced back into the sand. His next shot landed in the front bunker of the easily found 18th hole. The combination of mistakes brought Rahmi’s round to a dirty end: a double bogeyman who dropped him to third.
Zalatoris was one of the few who did not have a hard time on Saturday, shooting three below 67, with four birds and only one bogeyman. Even as he badly cut the last shot of the day 35 yards to the right of the 18th threshold, he landed in the corridor between the grandstand and another temporary building.
Although 224 yards from the hole, it had enough hole to insert the exact long iron into the famous, mammoth bunker that protects the 18th green. From there, Zlatoris spun out of the sand, fired a stubborn shot, and then sank a six-foot-tall repository.
Although Zalatoris is only 25 years old, he is playing in the Ninth Grand Golf Championship and has repeatedly fought for the defining title of successor. Last month, he lost the PGA Championship playoffs to Justin Thomas and finished second in the 2021 Masters. He also finished sixth at this year’s Masters and the 2020 U.S. Open.
Narrow defeats in the majors did not distort Zalatoris.
“I know I’m going to get it,” he said after this year’s PGA Championship. “It’s only a matter of time.”
But Zalatoris knows that fighting Country Club’s insidious, decades-long challenges will not win, it will only survive.
“The golf course needs a lot of discipline and patience,” he said Saturday night. “It was the most difficult golf course I have ever played. Making mistakes here is easy. Of course, you can do that in the big leagues in general, but especially in this championship.
Zalatoris paused for a moment, nodded, then repeated, “Especially this one.”
Zlatoris will be matched by a strong nine-man Fitzpatrick, who won the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship at the country club. Fitzpatrick, who finished second in the fourth round of last month’s PGA Championship, hit the first hole on Saturday but shot three down in the remaining round.
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Fitzpatrick, who is 27th and 18th in the men’s world rankings, also found himself in an open bunker ahead of the 18th Green at the end of the third round. He had a more difficult lie and Bogma had to deal with it.
With about two hours left before the end of the third round, it looks like Scott Scheffler, the number one in the rankings and the reigning Masters champion, was going to take the lead in the final round. Thanks to a 102-yard-tall eagle in the 5th eighth hole, Scheffler was three equal to 10 holes and six for the tournament.
But each of Sheffler’s short, downhill shots at par-3 11th hole flew into the green under threat. An awkward chip and another dirt pitch that slammed to a 25-foot descent pushed the hole up to a double boom. Two chips in the next hole cost Scheffler another hit. It is unlikely that he became the first of three consecutive Bohemians to see Sheffler fall to the top of the leaderboard.
Only two golfers on the field who played at last week’s LIV Golf inaugural event have qualified for the last two rounds of this weekend. Dustin Johnson scored his 71st goal on Saturday and is twice as tall for the tournament. Richard Blend hit 72 on Saturday and is all four for the championship.
The other 11 LIV Series golfers who went home after two rounds of opening were combined with more than 83 draws, the ineffectiveness highlighted by Phil Mickelson’s more than 11 finishes, although Louis Osthuisen’s more than six draws were also uncomfortable.
Although Bryson Decembo and Patrick Reed have not played LIV Golf yet, they are loyal to the series. Both are steadily declining in the world rankings and their performances this week will not change that trend. Deshambo hit 76 on Saturday and is now in eight arenas. Reed hit 75 and finished six times for the tournament.