US OPEN 2022 Second-Place Finish “Hurts Pretty Hard,” Says Will Zalatoris
Sunday was just another example of what could have been for Will Zalatoris.
The 25-year-old finished one stroke behind Matt Fitzpatrick at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, for the 2022 U.S. Open. He almost missed a 14-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole, forcing a playoff and resulting in his third second-place finish in nine majors.
“This one, in particular, hurts a lot,” he said to reporters. “I’m three strokes away from virtually becoming a three-time major champion. A few bounces here and there.”
Zalatoris finished second in the 2021 Masters and second in the PGA Championship this year, the latter after falling short in a playoff against Justin Thomas. He has six top-10 finishes in nine major tournaments but has yet to win a PGA Tour event.
Fitzpatrick, who had zero victories but 22 top-10s and numerous second-place finishes in 105 circuit events, was in a similar scenario.
That changed on Sunday, but it seemed as if Scottie Scheffler would win when he surged out to a four-shot lead after the opening six holes of the final round. He bogeyed Nos. 10 and 11 and didn’t make another birdie until the 17th, just when it appeared like he was going to run away with it.
It was part of a back-and-forth day that saw Zalatoris bogey two of his opening three holes before recovering with four birdies in a six-hole run from Nos. 6 to 11 to seize the lead.
Fitzpatrick followed the opposite route, starting strong with birdies on Nos. 3, 5, and 8, but then bogeying Nos. 10 and 11.
The largest swing occurred on the 15th hole, when Fitzpatrick birdied after a magnificent approach shot and Zalatoris bogeyed. The eventual runner-up increased the pressure with a birdie on the 16th to close the gap to one stroke, but Fitzpatrick delivered the shot of the game on the 18th, finding the green with his second despite landing his drive in the fairway bunker.
In the final round on Sunday, Fitzpatrick made 17 of 18 putts for greens, but he still needed Zalatoris to miss his birdie attempt on hole 18 to win the tournament.
Will Zalatoris Reacts for being Second
I’m not satisfied with coming in second, remarked Zalatoris. “I definitely want to succeed. I feel at ease, particularly now that I am confident in my ability to do this. Just have to wait for my turn again.”
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