IF Will Zalatoris can complete his mission in the final round of the US Open on Sunday, he’ll know he was deserving for multiple reasons.
Zalatoris shot 3-under par 67 on Saturday to share the lead through three rounds, putting the young golfer in contention at yet another major championship.
He’s joined at the top by Matt Fitzpatrick of England at 4-under 206 at The Country Club in Brookline, MA. Fitzpatrick shot 68 in the third round.
Defending champion Jon Rahm looked to be in position to hold the third-round lead until a double-bogey 6 on the last hole, unable to get out of a sand bunker that turned costly. He’s alone in third, one shot back of the leaders.
Rahm went to the top of the leaderboard with a birdie on the 17th hole.
Zalatoris, 25, is contending in a major for the second month in a row after falling in a playoff to Justin Thomas in the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Championship.
Fitzpatrick led briefly late in the day with a birdie on No. 17. He fell back into a tie with Zalatoris, who already had finished his round, with a bogey on the final hole.
But Rahm wasn’t finished, posting birdies on Nos. 14, 15 and 17 and appearing in good shape until a mess on No. 18.
First-round leader Adam Hadwin (70) of Canada, Scottie Scheffler (71) and Keegan Bradley (69) are tied for fourth at 3 under. Bradley, a Vermont native, is giving the tournament a particular New England flavor.
Members of the gallery chanted Bradley’s name as he approached the 18th green and he’ll be the fan favorite for the final round.
Sam Burns (71), Rory McIlroy (73) of Northern Ireland and Joel Dahmen (74) are all at 1 under.
Zalatoris, who was the 2021 runner-up at the Masters, tied for sixth in the 2020 US Open. He played the backside in 1 under Saturday.
Fitzpatrick already owns success on the course, winning the 2013 US Amateur at the site.
Fitzpatrick is aiming to become the first non-US golfer to win the US Amateur and US Open. He said the importance placed on the majors adds to the drama.
Windy conditions created trouble for many golfers on Saturday. Long sleeves were the order of the day for many on the course.
Scheffler took the lead on the eighth hole by chipping in for an eagle from about 100 yards. But he hit trouble spots with a double-bogey 5 on the 11th hole and bogeys on the next three holes.
Still, Scheffler made a difficult par-saving putt on the last hole to stay in the mix.
Collin Morikawa, who won the PGA Championship in 2020 and British Open in 2021, and Dahmen were the co-leaders at the midway mark through Friday’s round. They experienced varying degrees of difficulty.
Morikawa was even through five holes, then suffered a bogey and double-bogey on the next two holes. He shot 77 to slip into a tie for 17th at 2 over. — Reuters