US Open 2022: Jon Rahm leads nine golfers most likely to claim championship at The Country Club

BROOKLINE, Mass. – Jon Rahm walked off the 17th green with venom in his eyes. He just hit a sweet little spinning wedge a few feet and poured it in for his third consecutive 3 as well as four holes across his third birdie. Suddenly, he had a solo lead at the 2022 US Open as he walked the 18th tee box on his 54th hole of the tournament.

Three shots from the bunkers led to a double bogey, and all the work Rahm did throughout the back nine – a golf course that seemed to be taking out three decades’ frustration in a single day – came undone. Rahm now sits one back entering Round 4 on Sunday, which is two strokes better than he did last year when he went on to win his first major championship at Torrey Pines.

Rahm sounded conflicted after his third round.

“I’m very content,” Rahm said. “I’m not going to lie. It’s infuriating in a sense to finish that way with how good I played those holes. But like I kept telling myself, if on the 14th [hole] If you tell me you can post 1 over par and not play the last five holes, I would have to run to the clubhouse because of how difficult it was playing. I would have taken it, no questions asked.

“I think I have to consider that. I have 18 holes, and I’m only one shot back. That’s the important thing.”

It is The important thing, and who sits ahead of Rahm matters as well. Will Zalatoris and Matt Fitzpatrick have combined not only for zero major wins but also zero PGA Tour event trophies. Rahm is thunderous, and he will surely hear his footsteps as he hoofs it around the old horse track on which the Country Club was built.

Assist bundling No. 18 and turning a one-shot lead into the one-shot deficit and the penultimate group, Rahm must still be considered the favorite. Although both statistical profiles of Zalatoris and Fitzpatrick are better indicators of a champion, Rahm is a compelling champion who looks like a man hell bent on joining Ben Hogan, Curtis Strange and Brooks Koepka as the only back-to-back champions. the US Open since World War II.

That doesn’t mean he’ll win – and he’s not the favorite at 4-1, per Caesars Sportsbook, behind Zalatoris and Fitzpatrick – but if you would have told me at the beginning of the week that Rahm would have been one back Entering Sunday, I would have said he had beaten the guy no matter who’s in front of him. The fact that he is set to chase down two players only solidifies the long success on the talent but the short.

However, Rahm’s chaotic 3-6 finish did prove one thing. The 122nd US Open is going the distance, and we won’t be able to crown a champion early. I thought Rahm’s birdie on No. 17 to get 5 under in Round 3 was the beginning of the end of the tournament. That ‘s what it felt like. As it turns out, the way it was closed was a reminder that it was just getting started now.

Here are the rest of the golfers who can take home the US Open on Sunday ..

2. Will Zalatoris (-4, co-leader): I’m not sure it came on television, but Brookline felt like an open championship on Saturday. It was colder than it should be in June and windier than anyone expected. And Zalatoris shot himself a 67. A sixty-seven! “I mean, 67 from Will out there today is unbelievable,” said Rory McIlroy, who shot 73. “Such a good score.”

Zalatoris is majors at many top 10s since starting 2021 as current top 10 players in the world Patrick Cantlay, Justin Thomas, Viktor Hovland, Sam Burns and Cameron Smith combined, so he ‘s no stranger to this stratosphere. Being as close as he was to the 2021 Masters (lost to Hideki Matsuyama by a stroke) and the 2022 PGA Championship (lost to Thomas in a playoff) should serve him well on Sunday.

3. Scottie Scheffler (-2, two back): The Masters champion had a wild Saturday. He holed out for the eagle on the par-5 eighth leading by two but ended the day by trailing two. He’s trying to join Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth as the only golfers to win the Masters and US Open in the same year, and the best thing he’s going for is that he’s leaning into the madness of it. this event.

“I think the US Open is very taxing, mentally and physically,” Scheffler said. “I think that’s all part of what makes this tournament so fun. You’re going to get tested in all different ways, whether it’s physically, mentally, whatever it is. This golf tournament is going to test you. That’s why. If I had a golf tournament like this, it would be in for a long season for all of us. ”

4. Matt Fitzpatrick (-4, co-leader): The 2013 US Amateur Champion on this course doesn’t quite have the major breakthrough Zalatoris (or certainly Scheffler) has shown, but his game has improved immensely over the last year, and he hasn’t quietly made any putts so far this week. Fitzpatrick is leading the field in strokes to green and has essentially putter a field average. If they start falling on Sunday for one of the better putters in the world, he’s going to repeat what he did in 2013 on an even bigger stage and become the first non-American to win both the US Am and US Open.

5. Rory McIlroy (-1, three back): McIlroy played his last 12 holes even par when 3 over or 4 over appeared more likely. He called Saturday “one of the toughest days on a golf course I’ve had in a long time,” and that’s how it felt being out there. He pulled some Houdini-level magic on No. 13 from the woods, going up and down from 170 yards for par. He made a 9-footer at no. 15 and a 11-footer on the no. 17, both for par. He dodged bogeys and then literally dodged a turkey walking down one of the holes near the end of his round. McIlroy’s grand finale was a ruling on No. 18 that granted him relief from underneath a tree. He somehow had a look at the birdie that hole but settled for par and is somehow (somehow!) Just three going back into Sunday.

“Even though it was such a tough day and I feel like I battled well,” McIlroy said. “To still only be three going back [Sunday] I feel is a good thing for me. … just kept myself in the tournament. That ‘s all I was trying to do. Just keep hanging around. I felt like I did well to get it in under the tournament at the end of the day. “

Who Wins At Brookline? Rick Gehman and Greg DuCharme recap on a wild Saturday at The Country Club. Follow & Listen To The First Cut Apple Podcasts and SpotifyGeneral Chat Chat Lounge

6. Sam Burns (-1, three back): Burns has been kind of sneaking around this week and finds himself under one of just nine golfers. He’s the only one in that group that is losing strokes off the tee, though. If that does not improve Sunday, it will not have a chance. However, Burns is a total menace and has just come back from seven down to win the Charles Schwab Challenge. He’ll go down swinging and should have a blast to watch in the finale.

7. Keegan Bradley (-2, two back): The New England native will be among the fan favorites on Sunday, and he will certainly be hitting shots well enough to win. Only Scheffler and Matsuyama are gaining more strokes. Bradley is technically a major winner, but it has been a while. He won the first major he ever played and has been winless in his last 34. It wouldn’t be shocking if he won on Sunday, but it would have been a bit of a surprise.

“[The reception I got on No. 18 today] was one of the most amazing moments of my entire life, “Bradley said.” I got to feel what it feels like to play in Fenway, to play in the [Boston] Garden, to play in Gillette Stadium. I felt like a Boston player there. That was a moment I will never forget the rest of my life, and I appreciate the fans giving me that, and I hope to have them cheer again. [Sunday]. ”

8. Joel Dahmen (-1, three back): The good news for Dahmen is that he is the beating partner and two-time major winner Collin Morikawa on Saturday. The bad news is that Morikawa shot 77. Dahmen did well to grind out a 74 because it was going the other way in a hurry, and he was still in it even if he needed a bit of a miracle round on Sunday to leap McIlroy, Rahm. , Scheffler, Zalatoris and Fitzpatrick. “If you told me Thursday morning I’d just be back three in Sunday’s US Open … I like where my game is at,” he said. “I felt comfortable out there. Maybe I could sneak up behind them [Sunday]. “

9. Adam Hadwin (-2, two back): For the second straight year, a Canadian is in the mix at the end of the US Open. Although Hadwin is third in the field from tee to green so far this week, he would be the most surprising winner of the top nine.

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