Will Zalatoris hoped it would be his final putt as he stared at his birdie attempt from just outside 14 feet on the 72nd hole Sunday at The Country Club.
He needed it to tie Matt Fitzpatrick, who had just missed his birdie effort and had a kick-in for par. Zalatoris got it started on what his thought was the line, it looked good as it approached the hole then it grazed the left edge of the hole — barely missing.
And with that, it was another runner-up finish in a major for the spunky Zalatoris.
“It was fun, man. Matt’s shot on 18 is going to be shown probably for the rest of U.S. Open history because that — I walked by it, and I thought that going for it was going to be ballsy, but the fact that he pulled it off and even had a birdie look was just incredible. So hat’s off to him.
Zalatoris has now finished runner-up in three of the four majors — The Masters, the PGA and now the U.S. Open.
“I think this one probably is going to take a little bit more processing than that one (PGA playoff loss). Like I said, I’ve got no regrets. I thought I played great all week, especially getting off to the start that I did today. It stings obviously. Obviously to have three runner-ups so far in my career in majors, but keep knocking on that door. We’re obviously doing the right things. I’d pay a lot of money for about an inch and a half, and I’d probably be a three-time major champion at this point.”
The start Zalatoris referred to was a par at the first then back-to-back bogeys at two and three — not something conducive to winning a major championship. But he battled back with birdies at six, seven and nine to keep himself in the mix — all the way to the end.
“This one hurts in particular pretty hard, but it’s motivating,” he admitted. “I’ve got to keep doing what I’m doing. I know I’m going to get one sooner or later.”
Scottie Scheffler Three-Over On 11th Hole For Weekend:
When Scottie Scheffler looks back, he’ll know that one of the shortest holes in major championship golf cost him a U.S. Open title.
It was the par three 11th, playing 118 yards on Saturday, 108 on Sunday. Scheffler hit his tee shot over the green on Saturday and took a double-bogey. On Sunday, his tee shot was short on the front fringe and he three-putted for bogey. Three-over for the weekend at 11.
“This week I hit some of the worst shots I’ve hit in my career, and I’ve hit some of the best ones. So it was kind of a roller coaster week. To be at the end was definitely a lot of fun. Unfortunately, just came up one shot short,” Scheffler said.
Travis Vick Takes Low Amateur, Schools Brooks Koepka:
So there was University of Texas freshman Travis Vick paired with big bad Brooks Koepka on Sunday for the final round. Both were five-over par for 54 holes and Vick was trying to finish as low amateur, Brooks was simply trying to avoid further embarrassment.
By day’s end, Vick, the NCAA individual champion and a member of the Texas team champion squad, smoked Koepka by four shots.
It was Vick 73 — Koepka 77. Vick did win low amateur.
“The NCAA is way more pressure,” Vick explained. “Even though there’s thousands of more fans here, when you’re playing for your team and you’re playing for a university, there’s just something about it because it’s something that we practice for all year long and you only get one opportunity to do that. We have three seniors on our team. So that added a little bit more pressure to try to get it done for them as well. But to say that there was no pressure out here would be a lie, especially when you’re on the 1st tee with Brooks Koepka right next to you. What a great experience. Super grateful for the USGA and everybody that helped run this event.”
As for Brooks, maybe it’s not as easy to win major championships as he said a few years ago.
Too Many Television Commercials:
Biggest criticism of the television coverage — way too many commercials.
The social media world blew that up but USGA boss Mike Whan didn’t duck the issue.
He took to Twitter and responded:
“I’m on it! We have the best sports production team in the world here with our partner NBC Sports (Olympics, Super Bowl, etc.) and if the amount of interruptions are problematic, we will work with our partner to do better.”
Abraham Ancer Hit By The LIV-Flu?
Abraham Ancer was a late WD for this event but now reports have him as the latest PGA Tour member set to defect to the LIV Series.
Ancer has had a quiet season thus far so it wouldn’t be a shocker if he bolted for the big money exhibition league. Besides, his tequila business probably needs a cash injection.
Fitzpatrick Is Fast-patrick:
Notice that Matt Fitzpatrick is a pretty fast player and that was very evident on his final approach shot of the day from the fairway bunker.
“I just feel like I’m a fast player, and when I look back, it just all happened so fast,” Fitzpatrick said. “It was like some kind of natural ability took over and just played the shot that was at hand.”
Matt hit was he described as a “squeezy fade.” It was high and perfect. When the crowd roared as it landed on the green, his brother Alex and the other Fitzpatrick family members went nuts.
What The Top Ten Earned:
Matt Fitzpatrick won $3,150,00 for winning while co-runners-up Scheffler and Zalators each took home $1,557,687.
Here’s the breakdown on the others who finished in the top 10:
Fourth: Hideki Matsuyama, $859,032, 70-70-72-65-277, three-under.
Tie-Fifth: Collin Morikawa, $674,953, 69-66-77-66-278, two-under. Rory McIlroy, $674,953, 67-69-73-69-278, two-under;
Tie-Seventh: Denny McCarthy, $515,934, 73-70-68-68-279, one-under; Adam Hadwin, $515,934, 66-72-70-71-279, one-under; Keegan Bradley, $515,934, 70-69-69-71-279, one-under;
Tie 10th: Gary Woodland, $407,220, 69-73-69-69-280, Even par; Joel Dahmen, $407,220, 67-68-74-71-280, Even par.