U.S. Open Third Round: Chaos At The Country Club
A wild third round ends with Zalatoris and Fitzpatrick ahead. Plus, the 11th hole derails a few leaders, NBC's commercial overload madness, Tweets, Quotes and Sunday Weather.
Just how savory is this 2022 U.S. Open leaderboard?
Fourteen players are within five or less of the top duo.
We’ve got all sorts of playing styles on a course that shows no signs of bias.
Major winners recent and desperate to get another one.
New England’s only hope in the second to last group.
The leaderboard free of sportwashers.
In terms of depth, flavor and overall texture, I can recall only one comparison in modern major championship history: the Bill’s Pizzeria pies heroically delivered Saturday evening to feed the media center.
Going out in the final twosome Sunday will be Will Zalatoris and Matt Fitzpatrick at -4.
“Felt like I shot a 61,” Zalatoris said to NBC after the round. His 67 was Saturday’s lowest. Zalatoris hit 9 of 14 fairways 12 of 18 greens and 27 putts helped him gain 3.32 strokes on the field.
Defending champion Jon Rahm hit a shot backwards and saw some fascinating parts of a course he adores before a 17th hole birdie lifted him to -5. That gave him the solo lead heading to the 18th. But a pull into the fairway bunker was compounded by a failed recovery that had no chance of clearing the bunker eyebrow.
“Obviously, I think a lot of people are just thinking about 18,” he said after a 68 “The truth is, 18, it was six good shots. Unfortunately, it added up to 6, but it was all good swings. If anything, it was maybe a choice or a decision on the fairway bunker, but swings were good, so execution was proper. So I'm happy about that in that sense.”
The 18th hole setback:
Then there is the incredible sight of New England’s Keegan Bradley sitting just two back after a 69. He has not finished in a major championship top 10 since 2014. Bob Harig more on the native son whose place in the second to last group add serious Sunday sizzle.
A few numbers through 36:
Round 3 scoring average: 73.53 (Round 1, 72.77, Round 2: 71.99)
Round 3 setup: 7,210 yards, with a forward tee used on the 16th hole to lower the yardage to 180. The 17th’s hole location got the 1999 Ryder Cup treatment today, complete with a Justin Leonard feature.
Toughest hole: 502 yard par-4 10th, 4.547 scoring average, 4 birdies, 6 doubles or worse
Easiest hole (tie): Par-5 14th, 4.906 avg., Par-4 17th 3.906 avg.
Low Amateur: Travis Vick, 70-69-76 (+4)
Low third round: Will Zalatoris, 67
High third round: Stewart Hagestad, Brandon Matthews 79
First group out: Stewart Hagestad, Harris English, 8:49 a.m. ET.
Final group out: Matthew Fitzpatrick, Will Zalatoris, 2:45 p.m. ET.
Hole Of The Day: The Tiny 11th Strikes!
With a helping wind the devilish 11th only yielded six birdies but a whole bunch of carnage. Playing 141 yards to a back pin, a surging Patrick Rodgers was the first victim, followed by then-leader Scottie Scheffler to register doubles. For Scheffler the 5 set off a string of three more bogeys. The Masters champ birdied the 17th to scrape it around in 71 and sit only two back going into the final day.
After playing as the 15th and 14th toughest holes over the first two rounds, the 11th played as the 9th most difficult hole Saturday.