Zalatoris, Fitzpatrick Tied for the Lead Going to Last Round of 122nd U.S. Open

Will Zalatoris has never won on the PGA Tour and would love to make his first victory a major championship.

The 25-year-old Zalatoris (pictured), who was born in San Francisco and was the 2020-21 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, posted a 3-under-par 67 in breezy conditions and is tied for the lead with Matt Fitzpatrick of England heading to the final round of the 122nd United States Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.

“It felt really good, actually it felt like maybe a 61,” said Zalatoris, who finished second in the 2021 Masters and the PGA Championship last month. “Whenever I made a mistake, I was able to do something get away with it or pull off something miraculous, whatever I needed to get away with it.

“The greens are tough, like in any major championship, but I’m a really good speed putter and that’s really helped me this week. The greens are just tougher in the majors and you just have to try to let the hole get in the way of the ball. It’s the belief that I have that has me in contention in a major. Now, I feel like I belong with the best players in the world.

“I’m pretty excited and looking forward to tomorrow. It’s going to be a great test, but I feel like I’m ready for it.”

Zalatoris, whose only pro victory came in the 2020 TPC Colorado Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour, made four birdies against a single bogey at No. 7 as he finished on the front nine and recorded a 54-hole score of 4-under 206.

Fitzpatrick, 27, who has won seven times around the world but never on the PGA Tour, took the lead with three birdies in four holes through No. 17, but a bogey on the last hole left him at 68 and in a tie with Zalatoris.

“I certainly think it gives me an edge over the others, yeah,” said Fitzpatrick, who won the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship at The Country Club. “I genuinely do believe that. It’s a real, obviously, positive moment in my career. It kind of kick-started me. To come back here and play so well again, it kind of just gives me growing confidence round-by-round.

“I’d be lying if I said I haven’t thought about it. It would just mean the world to win here again. It’s obviously a special place for me and to go one step further and win a US Open round here would be even more special. The U.S. Amateur win was one of the biggest achievements in my career and still is, and if I won a major here it would definitely overtake it

“My family are in town, I’ve got a couple of friends here as well, the family I am staying with are the same as in 2013, and I’m having great fun. I’m excited for tomorrow and to give myself another chance in a major.”

Second-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain made three birdies in four holes through No. 17 and held sole possession of the lead until he made a double-bogey 6 on the last hole to finish at 71 and is one stroke behind in solo third.

Said Rahm: “I have 18 holes left and I’m only one shot back. That’s the important thing. I just have to focus on myself and not what other players are doing.”

Local favorite Keegan Bradley birdied three of the last six holes for a 69 and is two shots back in a tie for fourth with Adam Hadwin of Canada, who had two late birdies in a 70, and top-ranked Scottie Scheffler, the Masters champion, who seemed to be in control until making a double-bogey and three bogeys on the back nine on his way to a 71.

Third-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, coming off his victory in the RBC Canadian Open, made only one birdie in a 73 and is three down in a tie for seventh with ninth-ranked Sam Burns, who wound up at 71, and Joel Dahmen, the 36-hole co-leader, who didn’t make a birdie in his 74, while Nick Hardy was one more down in solo 10th following a 74.

Seventh-ranked Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge and Cal, another 36-hole co-leader, stumbled to a 77 with only one birdie and is in a tie for 17th that includes 2016 U.S. Open and 2021 Masters champion Dustin Johnson, who had a 71, and 2020 Master champion Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, who wound up at 72.

Fourth-ranked Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos and UCLA, the reigning FedEx Cup champion, shot 70 and is in a tie for 25th that includes fifth-ranked Justin Thomas, the reigning PGA champion, who totaled 72, and 10th-ranked Jordan Spieth a three-time major champion who finished at 71, while Xander Schauffele, the 2021 Olympic Golden Medalist, is tied for 33rd following a 75.

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