BROOKLINE, Mass. — There was drama at this U.S. Open from the second gamers arrived on property. Earlier than it began, it wasn’t in regards to the golf. It was in regards to the state of golf. Now, it is in regards to the golf, with a leaderboard that has a mixture of stars, up-and-comers and some who-are-they contenders.
So what occurs on Sunday? Our consultants take their greatest photographs.
Mark Schlabach: Earlier than he struggled on the again 9 on Saturday, I’d have mentioned Scottie Scheffler. He’s the No. 1 participant on the earth and has gained greater than every other participant on tour this season. His play has slipped somewhat bit lately, however what occurred throughout a five-hole stretch on Saturday — when he squandered a 2-shot lead and gave again 5 strokes — was fairly shocking. McIlroy is fifth on the PGA Tour in final-round scoring common. He shot 62 on Sunday final week in selecting up a victory on the RBC Canadian Open, 68 within the closing spherical on the PGA Championship and 64 on Sunday on the Masters.
Michael Collins: Jon Rahm nonetheless believes he is the world No. 1. He is the defending champ and desires to do what Rory did final week however to a fair stronger discipline — remind them who the very best is. And when he begins “feeling it”, he’s going to make some loooong putts as a result of that is what he does.
Kevin Van Valkenburg: Rahm. It hasn’t been the season all of us thought it is likely to be for Rahm, however he nonetheless has essentially the most full sport of these three. The putter is heating up — lastly. Scheffler and McIlroy can get streaky, and that features making a bunch of bogeys when it begins going poorly. Rahm looks like he is discovered to channel his anger into excessive focus. If Will Zalatoris and Matt Fitzpatrick slip, I believe Rahm walks away with back-to-back U.S. Opens.
Paolo Uggetti: Rahm is the protected reply right here, however since my fellow co-workers have defined why, I am going to take a stab at making a case for McIlroy. It has been an up-and-down week for the face of the PGA Tour, however the truth that he is nonetheless solely 3 photographs again after grinding by a number of dangerous photographs makes me assume he is not performed fairly but. On the very least, the 2011 U.S. Open champion is not going to fail to make it attention-grabbing.
There are additionally a bunch of gamers within the combine trying to find that first main title. Which has the very best shot to get it?
Schlabach: I have been so impressed with Fitzpatrick’s growth this 12 months. He is enjoying with a ton extra confidence and is greater than able to profitable on Sunday. He gained the 2013 U.S. Beginner at The Nation, so he clearly likes the place. He tied for 14th on the Masters and tied for fifth on the PGA Championship. He would not hit the ball very far, however he hits it straight and is nice on and across the inexperienced.
Collins: Fitzpatrick. The climate goes to make him really feel at dwelling. He is already gained right here. He additionally will perceive that it will not take good golf to win. He is a affected person participant, and that’s what wins tournaments like this in actually difficult circumstances.
Van Valkenburg: Zalatoris. He was my decide at the beginning of the week, and I am sticking with him, despite the fact that I have been actually impressed with Fitzpatrick. Zalatoris has an apparent weak spot — his placing — however he by no means appears terrified of the second together with his ballstriking.
Uggetti: Zalatoris looks like he is due. The man has come so shut various occasions now and he is bought the sport to play by powerful circumstances. The placing is wanting — er, doing — higher, and that could be sufficient to lastly put him excessive.
Which identify on the leaderboard do you belief the least?
Schlabach: Nick Hardy, who performed at Illinois, has a really vibrant future in golf. He is not fairly prepared for this stage. The qualifier has been a terrific story, however he gave again 3 photographs on Saturday, and he’ll most likely give a couple of extra again on Sunday.
Collins: Adam Hadwin. Toronto is my favourite metropolis. However even in Canadian climate I do not belief a Canadian to win the U.S. Open this 12 months. Sorry to all my Tim Horton’s peeps.
Van Valkenburg: Apologies Canada, however my reply is Adam Hadwin. It could be a cool story, however I do not see it.
Uggetti: Sorry not sorry to the better Boston space, however Keegan Bradley shouldn’t be pulling off the storybook ending. At the least he had the euphoric stroll up the 18th on Saturday, which he known as one of many biggest moments of his life. How do you high that?
The Nation Membership actually confirmed its tooth on Saturday. What that in thoughts, what’s the profitable rating?
Schlabach: I might be shocked if Zalatoris, Fitzpatrick and Rahm all blow up on Sunday, so I am going to go together with 6 beneath. The circumstances had been fairly difficult on Saturday, because the wind was howling, and the greens had been slick. Forecasts name for prime temperatures under 60 levels on Sunday. It’ll really feel extra just like the Open Championship.
Collins: I believe 2 beneath wins. Situations would be the hardest they have been all week. Chilly temps make if a lot tougher to guage how far a ball will fly out of the tough. With that in thoughts, the person with the least quantity of battle scars will win.
Van Valkenburg: I am going with 5 beneath. It’ll be chilly on Sunday. We could not see the wind we noticed Saturday, however the ball is not going to fly. There can be potential to maneuver up the leaderboard the best way Justin Thomas did on the PGA Championship, however I believe 68 is likely to be the very best rating on the market. Anybody 1 beneath or higher is on this.
Uggetti: Give me a profitable spherical of even par on Sunday from one of many two guys at 4 beneath. It’ll get colder, and the wind could not let up. The course is getting browner, and there is a good likelihood we proceed to witness a few of the carnage we noticed late Saturday.
OK, so who wins?
Schlabach: I picked Shane Lowry to win, and the Irishman missed the reduce. I’ve bought a sense Zalatoris lastly will get it performed. He has been one of many world’s greatest gamers since his runner-up end on the 2021 Masters. He is been knocking on the door at the entire majors, and it is his time (so long as his putter holds up).
Collins: Jon Rahm defends his title.
Van Valkenburg: Zalatoris. We get some shaky putts down the stretch, but additionally some irons which can be completely flagged. McIlroy will make a quick run that can ship The Nation Membership right into a frenzy, however in the end Zalatoris nips Rahm to win his first main.
Uggetti: I am going with Fitzpatrick if just for some selection and the neat storyline of bookending his win on the U.S. Beginner in 2013 with a U.S. Open win on the similar venue 9 years later. He is even staying in the identical home!