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U.S. Open golf: Will Zalatoris, Matt Fitzpatrick share lead after brutal 3rd round

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U.S. Open golf: Will Zalatoris, Matt Fitzpatrick share lead after brutal 3rd round

Will Zalatoris hits out of tall grass on the first hole during the first round of the 122nd U.S. Open on Thursday at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

June 18 (UPI) — Will Zalatoris and Matt Fitzpatrick shared the lead at the 122nd U.S. Open after surviving a challenging third round Saturday at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.

Zalatoris, who lost in a three-hole playoff at the PGA Championship last month, carded just one bogey — an impressive feat given how difficult the Brookline course proved to be on the third day — for a 3-under 67.

“Felt like I shot a 61,” said Zalatoris, who is searching for his first major win. “Whenever I made a mistake, I was able to get away with it or pull off something miraculous.”

Fitzpatrick, meanwhile, was equally impressive and rattled off three birdies over his final five holes for a 68. Already a champion at The Country Club with his U.S. Amateur title in 2013, Fitzpatrick will be in the final group of a major tournament for the second consecutive time.

Zalatoris and Fitzpatrick were at 4-under 206 for the tournament, the same score of the 54-hole lead when the U.S. Open was last held at The Country Club in 1988.

Most notably, Zalatoris and Fitzpatrick avoided making any double bogeys, which is what derailed defending U.S. Open champion Jon Rahm on his last hole. Rahm’s double bogey on No. 18 gave him a 71 and took him from one ahead to one back entering Sunday’s final round.

“I have 18 holes, and I’m only one shot back,” Rahm said. “That’s the important thing.”

Scottie Scheffler, the top-ranked player in the world, also wasn’t able to avoid the carnage at the formidable Brookline course. The 2022 Masters winner appeared to be pulling away when he holed a wedge from about 80 yards for eagle on the par-5 eighth hole.

Scheffler was at 6-under par and had significant momentum until his wedge to a back pin on the par-3 11th sailed over the green and into deep rough. He took two shots to the green and two putts later was no longer in the lead.

The 25-year-old Scheffler followed up that double bogey with three straight bogeys to end the day with a 71. He was at 2-under par and tied for fourth with Adam Hadwin and Keegan Bradley.

Rory McIlroy, Joel Dahmen and Sam Burns were at 1-under par and tied for seventh. Nick Hardy ended the day at even par and alone in 10th.

Seven of the top 12 players entering Saturday made at least one double bogey due to a combination of strong winds and cooler temperatures that brought out some sweaters in June.

Going into the third round, 23 players were under par. Only nine remain with 18 holes to go, all of them separated by just three shots.

Sunday’s final round of the U.S. Open is set to begin at 8:49 a.m. EDT.

Scottie Scheffler reacts after missing a putt for birdie on the 18th green in the second round of the U.S. Open Championship at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., on June 17, 2022. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

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