The Country Club, Brookline, MA — June 19, 2022
The final round of play in the 2022 U.S. Open from The Country Club at Brookline, MA had all the makings of a classic battle for the title. As 10 players were within four shots of the lead on Sunday Morning.
The 54-hole leaders, Will Zalatoris and Matt Fitzpatrick were under fire before they even teed off on the first hole just before three pm. The world’s number one player Scottie Scheffler birdied the first two holes of his final round to jump into a tie for the lead at four-under-par.
Zalatoris was the first to succumb to the pressure as he missed the green on the par-three second hole and dropped a stroke off the lead into a tie with Jon Rahm at three-under. On the very next hole, he dropped another stoke and became mired in the crowd at two-under for the tournament.
Denny McCarthy is a name we have not mentioned prior to today. He made the cut on the number at three-over-par, then shot a two-under 68 on Saturday. Birdies on holes one, three, and four brought him to within two shots of the lead.
Nick Hardy started the day four shots off the lead, the 10th player within four strokes and the only one at even par for the tournament after three rounds. Birdies on the fourth and fifth holes brought him into contention amidst the crowd at two-under.
Rory McIlroy continued his up and down play going birdie, par, bogey, birdie, bogey, and birdie on his first six holes. He too was just two strokes back early. At one time, six players were tied for fourth at two-under.
Trying to Pull Away
Scheffler continued his positive momentum with birdies on the fourth and sixth holes to go six-under-par. A score he held yesterday before the wheels came off late in the third round.
Fitzpatrick, playing in the final pairing of the day, birdied the 500-yard par-four third hole to stay within striking distance of Scheffler. Playing two holes behind the leader. Then he birdied the 5th to pull back into a tie for the lead. Which opened a four-stroke distance between the co-leaders and the group tied for third at two-under.
After starting the day with four straight pars, Jon Rahm bogeyed the short 301-yard par-four fifth hole to drop back to two-under. Taking the place of Rory McIlroy who continued to post bogeys after every birdie.
Just when it looked like the tournament might develop into a two-man race to the finish, the pressure of a U.S. Open ratcheted up. Fitzpatrick had his first bobble of the day making bogey on the par-three sixth hole.
Zalatoris was the first player to break out of the log jam at two-under. Birdies at six and seven brought him back to four-under, where he started the day.
Scheffler looked to be in trouble on the par-five eighth hole. After a long drive and a second shot to the bottom of the slope at the front of the green, another birdie was a possibility. Scottie’s chip landed short of the upper tier where the hole was located. The ball began to drift backward, picking up speed it rolled down the slope just feet from where Scheffler had played his third shot.
Shot number four stayed up but he faced a difficult par putt from six feet. Sliding it just in the right side of the hole, Scheffler saved his par and kept his one-stroke lead over Fitzpatrick.
Scores After Nine Holes of Play
Scheffler(-6) was the first of the leaders to complete the front nine going out with a cumulative score of four-under-par for the final round.
Fitzpatrick(-6) birdied the eighth hole to draw back into a tie for the lead.
Zallatoris(-5) with birdies on six, seven, and nine climbed to within a stroke of the leaders after his opening nine.
Joel Dahmen(-2) was the only one in the crowd at two-under to maintain his score through the front nine.
The Back Nine
On Saturday, the final nine holes of the day bit golfer after golfer. Leaders stumbled and sub-par rounds were hard to come by. Would Sunday provide the same results?
On the 10th, Scheffler missed the fairway landing in the infamous U.S. Open thick rough. He blew his second shot through the green and into the bunker behind the hole. He blasted out, going 10 feet past the cup. Two putts dropped him from the lead.
Sheffler then made a mess of the short 108-yard par-three 11th, carding another bogey to drop back to four-under.
Collin Morikawa recovered from his disastrous third-round 77 with a four-under 66 on Sunday to become the early leader in the clubhouse posting a total of two-under-par.
Fitzpatrick bogeyed the 10th after his second shot landed in the greenside bunker and the lead score backed down to five-under. Like Scheffler, Fitzpatrick also bogeyed the 11th and dropped out of the lead.
Zalatoris birdied the 11th to become the third leader to post that number this week. But, on the 12th he missed the fairway, had to lay up, and carded a bogey.
Fitzpatrick drained a 48-foot putt on the 13th to regain a share of the lead at five-under. Zalatoris again missed the fairway, laying up for the second hole in a row. His third came up 15 feet short of the cup. After watching his playing partner make an impossible putt, Zalatoris needed to save par to avoid dropping out of the lead. He also found the center of the white circle.
Just ahead of the pair, Scheffler missed a makeable birdie putt that would have brought him into a share of the lead.
Hideki Matsuyama started his final round at two-over-par. After shooting even par 70 on Thursday and Friday, he carded a 72 on Saturday. Through 17 on Sunday he had a bogey-free round with five birdies on the day. Matsuyama made par on the 18th and posted the best round of the tournament with a 65. He closed out the weekend with 30 straight holes without a bogey.
Replacing Morikawa as the leader in the clubhouse at three-under. Matsuyama should stay loose, the way the back side has chewed up leaders he may have to hoist the trophy at the end of play.
The Final Six Holes
The par-five 14th plays at 625-yards. Two good shots will leave players a chip that, struck well, can produce a birdie. Zalatoris had a better chance at it but had to settle for par. Fitzpatrick ran his birdie four feet past the cup but coaxed his par putt into the bottom of the hole.
Both players missed the 15th fairway to the right. Fitzpatrick drove his ball into the crowd and it settled on the trampled grass hardpan. Zalatoris found the heavy rough with his ball disappearing out of sight.
With 225-yards to the green, Fitzpatrick’s shot settled 30 feet short of the pin. Zalatoris tried to muscle his ball out of the thick stuff and landed short in the left greenside bunker. Out of the sand trap he ended up 15 feet short of Fitzpatrick’s position and missed his par putt dropping back into a tie with Scheffler. Fitzpatrick rolled his putt into the heart of the cup taking a two-shot lead after 15.
The final pairing both found the green on the par-three 16th, with Zalatoris’ ball coming to rest six feet right of the hole. Fitzpatrick lagged up from distance for a tap in par. Zalatoris got a stroke back, holing his birdie putt.
One hole ahead, Scheffler rolled in a birdie putt on 17 to also move within a stroke of the lead. Two-under-par again become a popular number as several players had a shot to join Matsuyama at three-under, including McIlroy. No one could convert and give themselves a chance to possibly sneak in the back door.
On 18, Sheffler had a good look at a birdie but it rolled just past the cup on the left of the hole. His par eliminated any chance for Matsuyama and all the attention turned to the 17th green where both players just missed birdie putts.
All the drama of the 122nd U.S. Open centered on the 72nd hole of the tournament and high drama it was. Zalatoris hit a beautiful drive safely in the center of the fairway. However, Fitzpatrick’s ball found one of the left fairway bunkers.
With second shots precisely struck, they both landed on the green. Fitzpatrick lagged up and calmly tapped it in for a par to finish at six-under. Zalatoris wasted no time, stepping up to stroke the potential tieing putt. It slid just past on the left.
The young Canadian, Matthew Fitzpatrick, won the U.S. Open on the same course where he captured the U.S. Amateur nine years earlier.
Just a note; Fitzpatrick became only the second golfer in history to win a U.S. Open and a U.S. Amateur on the same course. The other, Jack Nicklaus (Pebble Beach, 1972 and 1961).
While the PGA vs LVI controversy faded into the background over the weekend, mostly because the new league players failed to deliver. Let’s hope a compromise settles the rancor and we can continue to see the greatest golfers in the world continue to go head-to-head in the sport’s major championships. Next up; The Open (British), the 150th edition from St. Andrews, July 14-17.
Results of the Final Round of the U.S. Open from The Country Club in Brookline
|POS||PLAYER||TO PAR||ROUND 1||ROUND 2||ROUND 3||ROUND 4||TOTAL|
|T27||Min Woo Lee||5||73||70||69||73||285|
|T43||Travis Vick (a)||8||70||69||76||73||288|
|T49||Sam Bennett (a)||10||70||73||74||73||290|
|T61||Austin Greaser (a)||17||72||70||76||79||297|
|64||Stewart Hagestad (a)||19||73||70||79||77||299|