BROOKLINE, Mass. — Will Zalatoris is the co-leader at the U.S. Open with a score of 4-under par entering Sunday's final round, but that doesn't mean the course at The Country Club has been a breeze.
Quite the opposite, in fact.
Zalatoris views the historic course in Brookline, Mass., as the hardest he's ever played.
"Literally when people ask me what's the toughest golf course you've ever played, I've said The Country Club since 2013," Zalatoris explained Saturday after shooting a 3-under par third round. "Granted, Gil has made some changes, adding in 11, which is a phenomenal hole. I still haven't hit that green this week. It's the 'easiest shot' on the golf course."
What in particular makes this course so challenging?
"I think it's got a good mixed bag of short holes and longer holes, but the shorter holes you just make one mistake at all, and you're scrambling for par," Zalatoris said.
"You have your fair share at 500-yard Par-4s that are pretty straight, but it's just — it shows you that the rough this week I think in the four Opens I've played is the shortest that I've ever played, and it's still — I think I had — I think I was 1-for-5 being able to go for the green just because of the scenario that's in front of you.
"Like on 10, if you hit one in the rough, you're going to have 210 back up the hill with rough, basically 50 yards of rough in front of you and some bunkers, so you have to lay up. Literally every single shot you're trying to, obviously — off the tee it's just so crucial out here to just hit as many fairways as you can."
Zalatoris was one of just seven golfers to shoot below par during Saturday's third round. The weather played a factor as temperatures dropped into the low 60 and winds were gusting between 10-20 mph throughout the afternoon.
Winds will be whipping again Sunday and temperatures will drop further into the low-to-mid 50s.
The combination of less-than-ideal weather conditions, the pressure of a final round at a major championship and an unforgiving course will provide the golfers near the top of the leaderboard with a fantastic test over the final 18 holes of the U.S. Open.
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