Wild. That is the only word I have to describe what happened at The Country Club on Saturday during the third round of the US Open 2022.
Every time we thought we saw someone take control of the third major of the season, they were quick to let it slip away and return the field to the tournament. All that without mentioning the two-time Grand Slam winner and 36-hole co-leader who simply had nothing on his game.
It really all started with an eagle hole on Scottie Scheffler’s par-5 eighth. when he jumped to 6-under with a two-shot lead. He barely missed a birdie chance in the ninth and seemed to be on cruise control. Yet, seemingly out of nowhere, he went five on the four-hole stretch from 11 to 14 and lost the lead.
Will Zalatoris and Matt Fitzpatrick took the lead before Fitzpatrick bogeyed on the final hole to tie Zalatoris at 4-under.
Lastly, it was Jon Rahm’s turn as he took the lead at five under on Day 17 and looked poised to carry that lead into the final round as he seeks back-to-back victories at the US Open. Instead, he left his second shot in the fairway bunker on the 18th and then buried his next shot in the greenside bunker. He would close with a double and fall to a hit from the leaders before Sunday’s final round.
I’d be lying if I said I have any bias on who will win this event on Father’s Day, but we’ll dive in and see which players stand out as buys heading into the final round.
Strokes Earned Explained
Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans much more detail on how a golfer has actually played measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.
Using the millions of data points it collects, TOUR calculates how many shots it takes on average for a player to put the ball in the hole from any distance and situation. If a player exceeds those averages, he is winning strokes on the course.
Every situation in golf is different. Stroke Gains measure how well players perform in relation to the situation.
In this article, we’ll cover a variety of strokes earned metrics:
- Strokes Earned – Off Tee
- Stroke Earned: Approach
- Strokes Gained – Around the Green
- Stroke Earned: Putting
- Strokes Earned: Ball-Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
- Stroke Earned: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)
In general, SG: Ball-Striking and SG: Tee-to-Green are the most stable in the long run, while putting is more prone to volatility.
You can often find advantages in live betting by identifying golfers who hit the ball well, but fail to drop putts. Similarly, players with high SG: Putting Numbers may regress in the future.
3 golfers to buy in round 4
There are very few times when I sit down on a Saturday night and just stare at the blank screen trying to find my buys and fades. This is definitely one of those times as this tournament could go in a few different directions and I’m honestly not sure who will step up and take it.
how many times can Zalatoris come that close and not get a win? It looks like it’s his time and he certainly has the hitting ability to put himself in position to make enough putts to win this event. He’s listed beyond Fitzpatrick on the odds board and I’ll take my chances there. Zalatoris was in this place last month and it looks like this might be the time he finally shuts it down.
However, my first inclination was that it is Rory McIlroyit’s time. He’s had some really tough times during this tournament and somehow he’s hanging in there, just three shots off the lead. He also shot a final round 62 last Sunday and will have those good vibes to lean on as he looks to capture his first Grand Slam in eight years.
I buy him for his potential to do more and put together his best round of the week as he just hasn’t had his best run since Thursday. McIlroy has made enough decisive putts to keep him in this tournament and I have a feeling he’ll be at his best on Sunday at The Country Club.
Another player who has proven to be a clutch on Sunday is sam burns. He has continually posted solid final rounds, as evidenced by his three wins this season. I’ll double down on the young LSU graduate, as he held his round on Saturday despite not having the best approach from him.
Burns won just over a half stroke on the course with his irons in the third round, but it was a hot putter that kept him in contention. The difference with Burns and some of the other names at the top is that he really is an elite putter, as he ranks 16th in that metric this season. He also ranks fourth in approach and if he puts those two things together in the final round, he could certainly capture his first major.
3 golfers who fade in round 4
I’m fading Matt Fitzpatrick. He has yet to bite me in America and until he does it for the first time, I will continue to be on the other side.
The Englishman started his third round with a bogey and got into more trouble to start his last nine, but three birdies in four holes allowed him to bogey the last and still hold onto a chunk of the lead. As you may have heard one or fifty other times this week, Fitzpatrick won the US Amateur on this very course in 2013. He will be looking to equal Jack Nicklaus as the only players to win both the US Amateur and US Open on the same course. I think that’s just going to add pressure to a guy who, frankly, hasn’t handled it well when he’s been in this position in the past.
Above we mentioned some guys who have really played well on Sundays lately. Joel Dahmen fits on the other end of that spectrum. He has been one of the worst players in SG: Total in the final round in recent events. Dahmen have struggled to close out the weekend strongly and in particular in Round 4.
His lapse began on Saturday when he went 4-for-74, but in reality the hitting numbers were still solid. His problems were primarily related to his play on and around the greens. If he can keep the ball hitting tomorrow, he can stay close to the top 10, but history says he may have some Sunday fears that come into play in the final round.
Aaron Wise was a player that I really liked going into the week as his ball hitting was taking hold and seemed to be peaking. He certainly was in the mix before Saturday, but he recorded a second round in which he missed hitting the field on approach. He’s not a player who competes often when he relies solely on the short game and that’s where he’s tending right now. Wise could certainly find it again in the final round, but with several rounds showing trouble hitting the ball, that’s enough for me to fade on Sunday.