As strong winds in Brooklyn wreaked havoc on the field, the picture at the top of the rankings was widely revealed, with Will Zalatoris and Matt Fitzpatrick sharing a lead of four less than face value in the deciding round on Sunday.
Noisy conditions – a topic in every press conference after the round – contributed to a number of unexpected results, with only 10 of the 64-player field scoring at least a nominal score and only seven scoring fewer. This means that only four shots split the leading duo of Nick Hardy in 10th place.
Zalatoris is ready to take revenge for a big heart
Won 14th in the world, Zalaris is ranked with the top 67. The American has come a long way in recent years, missing the Masters with a hit in 2021, before losing in the playoffs to Justin Thomas at the PGA Championship in May.
Having already described The Country Club’s pitch as the hardest he has ever played, regardless of the weather, Zalatoris revealed that the conditions were so “brutal” that he did not fire shots at any of the hole’s flags.
Now 18 shots of fame, the 25-year-old believes he has what it takes to cross the line.
“I’m coming down from PGA [Championship] it gave me a lot of faith and confidence that I belong in this situation, “Zalatoris told reporters.
“There’s a difference between thinking about it and then actually being in the situation and believing … I’ve put myself in this situation a few times in my career and obviously I have to go out and get it tomorrow.”
Fitzpatrick is ready to repeat the feat
World No. 18 Fitzpatrick marked two under the age of 68 to join Zalatoris at the top. Although the Englishman also has no specialty in his name, he has experience winning at The Country Club after winning the US Amateur in Brooklyn in 2013.
He has since won seven European tours, but has admitted that his career will feel “unfinished” if he retires without enjoying great fame.
“I would be really disappointed if I didn’t,” Fitzpatrick told reporters.
“I definitely feel like I have a much better chance of winning a major now than I’ve ever done in my career.”
The deciding round on Sunday is scheduled to start at 8:49 AM ET, with the repayment times of the pairs arranged in ascending order up in the rankings. Fitzpatrick and Zalatoris will be the last duo to face off at around 14:45 ET.
Wind troubles for Ram and Scheffler
Ram, the first Spaniard to win the US Open with a 2021 victory over Tori Pines, was left with the paradoxical feeling that he was both “very happy” with his performance and regretted a late setback.
Discussing the turbulent conditions, the 27-year-old said he would “run to the club” if offered a face value to miss the last five holes.
“In a way, I’m going to end this way with how well I played those holes,” Ram told reporters.
“I have 18 holes and I’m only one shot back. That’s what’s important.”
Scheffler also chose to be optimistic, despite the effect of the elements on his circle. Enjoying the spectacular 2022 with a Masters victory and three additional victories in the PGA Tour, the 25-year-old showed his class to stabilize the ship after a horrific stretch, closing with three pairs and one bird.
“This little golf ball is just being thrown everywhere,” Scheffler told reporters before discussing what a victory on Sunday would mean for him.
“If I do, it will be really fun. If I don’t, life will go on,” he said. “I hope this will not be my last US Open, but you never know. I can’t take anything for granted in this life.
“So I’ll come tomorrow the way I always do and I’ll just go out there and try to do my best and see what happens next.”