By Monday morning, there may be plans to erect a statue of Matt Fitzpatrick in Brooklyn. Success in both the US Amateur Championship and US Open At the country club, as now within Fitzpatrick’s reach, it would be a remarkable feat.
Fitzpatrick, who suffered a turbulent Sunday at the US PGA Championship last month, is hot in his pursuit of glory in his next big start. The Yorkshireman, whose amateur win came at this illustrious spot in 2013, will start day four with a tie for the lead. In fourth place on par, Fitzpatrick owns Will Xalatores for the company. History favors Fitzpatrick.
To his credit, Fitzpatrick spoke confidently about the impact of nine years ago. “I definitely think it gives me an advantage over others, yeah,” he said. “I really believe in that. It’s a real, positive moment in my career. It kind of pushed me.”
“To be back here and play really well again, it kind of gives me more confidence round by round.”
Jon Ram reached his eighteenth tee at five below par. This was followed by a bunker problem – and a double specter. The defending champion’s 71 average means he’s shy of the leading duo.
Zalatoris was closer than Fitzpatrick to a US PGA victory, having lost in the playoff at Southern Hills to Justin Thomas. 67 for Zalatoris was the third day’s performance. Oddly enough, the 25-year-old has five top ten spots in seven prime starts but has yet to win a major tour event.
“The PGA of America has given me so much faith and confidence that I belong in this situation,” Zalatores said. “There’s a difference in thinking about it and then being in the situation and believing in it. So I think that’s probably the biggest change. The American PGA really made me feel like I could be one of the world’s players.”
Rory McIlroy number 73 left him with a three out of the lead and so he still keeps in touch with him a lot. Scotty Scheffler emphasized the wild nature of the US Open, who stowed away from Eagle on the eighth giving him a two-shot lead at six under. By the 15th tee day, World #1 was minus one. Schaeffler closed in two positions under the goal after 71. Adam Hadwin and Keegan Bradley in the same score.
The frustrations associated with the typically fierce US setup were exemplified by Thomas’ behavior. The American PGA Champion ball came to rest inches from a drain in the middle of the fourth lane. Thomas would have been given a free rest if the drain interfered with his stance or his swing line; Ruling decided not to apply.
Thomas made his annoyance quite plain, while casting doubts about how many fellow pros would have acted if they were placed in the same movie.
“That’s what bothers me,” Thomas said to Candy, Jim “Bones” Mackay. “Lots of other people lie about their ability to hit that, but it’s just like: ‘I’m not going to hit her.’ That’s ridiculous nonsense, man.” Thomas threw his gift away for good measure.
After signing at 72, leaving him at plus three, Thomas clarified the situation. He said, “For me it was about a bank and it is very clear that my position and my ball were sitting differently than it would have been had that exchange not existed.” “I called an official to get a verdict on that, and in the spirit of the game, I’m not going to be drained. I felt I could have easily told her I was going and got the free drop, but I didn’t.”
“It’s unfortunate because it was a great drive and I had a wedge in my hand. I could only hit the ball 100 yards away. I mean, it’s very clear my stance and the place where my ball changed and sat badly because of that drain, but I didn’t get a drop from it.” That’s just how things are. You should be able to reach the drain to get a drop.”
In a statement to the United States golf Union said: “During the discussion, Justin was asked if the drain would interfere with his swing, to which he replied that it did not. Because there was no interference from the drain, Justin was not provided with comfort. Rule 16.1a(1) states that interference from an unmoving obstacle Occurs when the ball touches, is in or on the obstacle, or the obstacle physically interferes with a player’s intended zone or intended swing zone. The rule continues to state that if the obstacle is close enough to distract the player but does not otherwise interfere, there is no relief under the rule.”
Thomas wouldn’t feel quite right without hope of claiming back-to-back comps. It looks like Justin Rose’s race is almost running after 74 shuffled him back to five. 75 Brooks Kopka means it matches the Rose’s 54-hole total.
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