Leaders collapse in third round of U.S. Open

BROOKLINE, Mass. — Will Zalatoris and Matt Fitzpatrick avoided the carnage that plagued top golfers at the US Open on Saturday.

Zalatoris, who lost in overtime at the PGA Championship last month, bogeyed just one and turned 67 (-3).

« Looks like I played 61, » Zalatoris said. Every time I made a mistake, I was able to get out of it and achieve something miraculous. »

Fitzpatrick was equally effective and birdied three times on his last five holes to post a 68 on the course at Brookline Golf Club. He will be part of the final group at a major tournament for the second time in a row.

What is most striking is that they did not commit any double bogey.

This is what caused defending tournament champion Jon Rahm to slip out of first place on the 18th hole. The Spaniard notably made three shots in two bunkers to finally play 71.

Rahm wasn’t angry about the last hole. He prefers looking ahead rather than looking back.

« There are 18 holes left and I’m just one stroke behind the leaders, » he said. That’s the most important thing.”

Zalatoris and Fitzpatrick posted a cumulative minus-4 score, the same as after 54 holes in the tournament’s last performance at Brookline in 1988.

It’s not like Rahm holds the full lead. Saturday was so crazy that Rahm is one of eight golfers to have had or shared the lead at some point. Three of them didn’t even finish the third round in the top-10, including Collin Morikawa.

Morikawa, who shared the lead with Joel Dahmen after 36 holes, double-bogeyed at seventh and 13 pennants. He settled for a round of 77.

Scottie Scheffler, the most recent champion of the Masters Tournament, did not run away from it. The best golfer in the world looked like he wanted to distance himself when he hit an eagle on the eighth hole.

Scheffler was down to 6 when he ran into trouble. He double-bogeyed on the 11th hole and followed it with three straight bogeys to tumble in the standings. His round of 71 tied him for fourth with Canadian Adam Hadwin (70) and Keegan Bradley (69), two shots off the top.

Seven of the top 12 players heading into Saturday’s round committed at least one double bogey.

Rory McIlroy is not on this list. In his case, he died out slowly and he managed only one birdie during his round of 73. He is tied for seventh position, with a cumulative score of minus-1.

The US Open is far from over.

« It was one of the toughest days I’ve had on a golf course in a long time, » McIlroy said. I just had to keep fighting and I did on the back nine. I was par on the back nine and that kept me in the game.”

There were 23 under par after 36 holes, but now there are only nine left with one round to go.


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