Will Zalatoris sets testing clubhouse target as winds play havoc at US Open

Will Zalatoris

Will Zalatoris set a testing clubhouse target as blustery conditions played havoc in the third round of the 122nd US Open at Brookline.

Zalatoris has yet to win on the PGA Tour but has recorded five top-10 finishes in his last six completed majors, including a play-off defeat in last month’s US PGA Championship at Southern Hills.

And the 25-year-old proved once again his game is ideally suited to the sport’s biggest events with a superb 67, featuring four birdies and a solitary bogey, to set the target at four under par.

Will Zalatoris
Will Zalatoris hits on the sixth hole during the third round of the US Open (Charlie Riedel/AP)

“After the US PGA that was a bitter pill to swallow, but I feel good about my game,” Zalatoris said.

“Tomorrow is going to be no simple test, you look at the major champions on the leaderboard and this course is a beast. The job is not even close to being done.”

England’s Matt Fitzpatrick, who won the 2013 US Amateur at Brookline, was just a shot behind with four holes remaining, along with defending champion Jon Rahm, who had seven to play.

Rory McIlroy’s chances looked to be fading fast when he covered his opening seven holes in three over par to slip five behind world number one Scottie Scheffler, who had holed from 102 yards for an eagle on the eighth.

However, Scheffler ran up a double bogey on the short 11th and dropped further shots on the next two holes, while McIlroy’s birdie on the 11th took him back to two under par and just two behind Zalatoris.

Ireland’s Seamus Power was safely in the clubhouse on one over par following a 70 which included an eagle on the par-five eighth.

“That got me going on the right path heading into the back nine,” Power said. “I need more of the same on Sunday and hopefully I can finish a little stronger.

“I am going to have to play a little bit better and hopefully if a couple of putts drop you never know.”

US PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas was accidentally introduced as Justin Thompson on the first tee and was then overheard expressing his frustration after being denied a drop from near a drain in the fourth fairway.

“That’s what pisses me off, because so many other people would lie about being able to hit that, but it’s just like, I’m not going to hit it (the drain),” Thomas complained. “That’s bull****, man.”

Speaking after a round of 72 left him three over par, Thomas said: “I called an official to get a ruling on it, and in the spirit of the game I wasn’t going to hit the drain.

“I felt like I very easily could have told her (the rules official) that I was going to and gotten a free drop, but I wasn’t.”