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US Open 2022 Leaderboard Breakdown: Stars stacked at the top with Will Zalatoris, Matthew Fitzpatrick leading

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The Country Club reacted Saturday as golfers faced a much tougher test during the third round of the 2022 US Open. Pars felt like birdies, bogeys felt like pars and birdies felt like highway robbery. . While several top-tier players battled to conquer the firm, fast and windy conditions in Brookline, Massachusetts, there were two men who stood out above the rest and jumped to the top of the leaderboard in the process.

Those two would be Will Zalatoris and Matthew Fitzpatrick, who now find their names in the top spot at 4-under. Two of only three players inside the top 10 to play rounds under par on Saturday, the men who will be the last to tee off on Sunday were simply fantastic in their 18-hole third set.

Constantly finding fairways and sinking clutch putts when necessary, this is now the second consecutive major championship that Fitzpatrick will be a member of the final group on Sunday. While things didn’t go well at Southern Hills, or for Zalatoris either, the good vibes from his 2013 US Amateur victory at The Country Club could be exactly what pushes him across the finish line.

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“I certainly think it gives me an edge over everyone else, yes,” Fitzpatrick said of his earlier success at The Country Club. “I really believe that. It’s a real, obviously positive moment in my career. It pushed me up a little bit. To come back here and play that well again, it gives me more and more confidence round by round.”

Here is a breakdown of the ranking table heading into the final round of the US Open 2022:

T1. Will Zalatoris, Matthew Fitzpatrick (-4): These two experienced heartbreak at the PGA Championship, albeit in different ways. While Zalatoris lost in a tiebreaker, Fitzpatrick simply didn’t have the game of his own in the final round at Southern Hills. They should both learn from this experience, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they went toe-to-toe with reigning US Open champion Jon Rahm on Sunday.

“I think, especially coming out of the PGA, it gave me a lot of faith and confidence that I belong in this situation,” Zalatoris said. “There’s a difference between thinking about it and then being in the situation and believing it. So I think that’s probably the biggest change. I’ve put myself in this situation a few times in my career and obviously I have to go out there and get that.” [Sunday].”

3. Jon Rahm (-3): It was a roller coaster ride on Saturday for the typically steady Rahm. Bogeying the easy par-5 eighth, the Spaniard turned around and slid once more on the par-4 13. However, he then showed the resolve of a champion and birdied three of his next four holes to move up to the lead. solo with 5 under par. A slightly dropped tee shot on the closing hole found the bunker, and when he left his second shot at his feet, a double bogey followed soon after. Dinner will taste bitter, but victory is still at hand and it will be even sweeter if he is able to successfully defend the crown from him.

T4. Scottie Scheffler, Adam Hadwin and Keegan Bradley (-2): A birdie-birdie finish on Thursday propelled Scheffler into a strong second round, and perhaps his par save on 18 can do the same before Sunday. The World No. 1 has to be frustrated knowing he stood on the 11th hole at 6-under, but he is still right in this tournament and could join some illustrious company with a win as he would capture the Masters and US Open. in the same. season.

T7. Sam Burns, Rory McIlroy and Joel Dahmen (-1): I can’t imagine many would have Dahmen beating Morikawa by three shots, but he did it, and after playing his first eight holes with 4 points, he steadied the ship. Making 10 pairs in a row, he still finds his name in the top 10 and just three shots behind Zalatoris and Fitzpatrick. Burns and McIlroy will be popular fan picks, and with good reason. But what if I told you that it was Dahmen who ranked in the top 15 in strokes gained off the tee and strokes gained on approach on Saturday? He’s hitting the ball considerably better than his counterparts at 1-under, and if he can steal Rory’s powers on the greens for just one round, he might as well steal this national championship.

T11. Denny McCarthy, Gary Woodland, Aaron Wise and three others (+1): McCarthy started the day tied for 56th after making the cut in number. Reminiscent of Webb Simpson’s third round at the PGA Championship, his two-under 68 was the best round for most of the day until Zalatoris came in with a 67. McCarthy won nearly two shots on the approach, and while his off-tee numbers look bad, that was due to his lack of distance when he hit 11 of 14 fairways. Accurately driving his irons in the right direction and positioning himself as the best putter on the course, maybe, just maybe, McCarthy can surprise the world.

T17. dust Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama, Collin Morikawa and five others (+2): Morikawa tried to warn us that his game wasn’t in the best of shape, and when The Country Club bared its teeth, that reality finally came out. At one point, the betting favorite, the two-time Grand Slam champion, died a slow and painful death on Saturday, ultimately going 7-for-77. Nothing went right for Morikawa; however, he must be thinking that something close to 4 under on Sunday might be enough to get the leaders thinking down the stretch.

T25. Jordan Spieth, Patrick Cantlay, Justin Thomas and five others (+3): Will Thomas pull another rabbit out of his hat? Seven shots off the beat, that’s the exact deficit he overcame en route to his 2022 PGA Championship victory. Not only will he have to chase down the man he beat in that playoff, but he’ll also have to outperform multiple superstars. So I can’t say he’s too optimistic about Thomas, Cantlay or Spieth making any significant noise in the final round.

“I’d feel better if I had five or six shots better,” Thomas said. “Those guys have a lot of golf left. Selfishly, for my sake, I hope they can keep striking distance because this is a great place to post. Hopefully, I can get hot [Sunday] and then post a number and give them a score to watch for a couple of hours.”

Who wins in Brookline? Rick Gehman and Greg Ducharme recap a wild Saturday at The Country Club. Follow and listen to The First Cut on Apple Podcasts Y Spotify.

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