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Co-leader Fitzpatrick bidding for more glory at Brookline

Co-leader Fitzpatrick bidding for more glory at Brookline

Matt Fitzpatrick holds a share of the lead ahead of the final round of the 122nd U.S. Open Championship as he bids to claim his maiden Major title at the venue where he tasted US Amateur Championship success nine years ago.


The Englishman produced a highly-impressive 68 in blustery conditions at The Country Club, Brookline on Saturday to sit alongside American Will Zalatoris at the top of the leaderboard on four under par with one round to go.

The 27-year-old looked set to head into Sunday's fourth round with the outright lead after birdies at the 14th, 15th and 17th took him above Zalatoris but the seven-time DP World Tour winner dropped a shot at the last after getting into bunker trouble.

Zalatoris shot the lowest round of the day as this week's host venue bared its teeth on Moving Day, notching four birdies and a single bogey to sign for a 67.

The co-leaders, who were also in contention on the final day of last month's US PGA Championship, have defending champion Jon Rahm one shot behind them after a double-bogey six on the last meant he had to settle for solo third.

Starting the day three shots off the lead, Fitzpatrick bogeyed the first to slip back to one under par but he made amends with birdies at the fifth and eighth to turn in 34.

He began the back nine with another bogey but bounced back in style, holing from four feet at the 14th before making it back-to-back birdies on the 15th, where he followed up an enormous drive with a glorious second shot to five feet and rolled in the putt.

Fitzpatrick gave himself another brilliant birdie chance on the 16th but could not convert from 17 feet.

But he holed from eight feet on the 17th green for a third birdie in four holes to get to five under.

Fitzpatrick was unable to save par at the last but was pleased with his day's work in extremely testing conditions.

He said: "The wind was really strong. It made it tough.

"You had to be switched on with the way you were hitting it, where you were missing it, and I think that was why it was a great challenge, and I'm really happy with my score."

Asked whether his victory here in 2013 as an amateur gives him an edge over his competitors, Fitzpatrick added: "I certainly think it gives me an edge over the others, yeah.

"I genuinely do believe that. It's a real, obviously, positive moment in my career. It kind of kickstarted me.

"To come back here and play so well again, it kind of just gives me growing confidence round by round."

Zalatoris reached the turn in 33 after making birdies at the second, fourth and ninth, with his only dropped shot coming on the seventh.

A bogey-free back nine which contained a birdie at the 15th saw him come home in 34 for a marvellous 67.

Zalatoris said: "This place is a beast. When I played during the Am in 2013 I said this was the hardest golf course that I had ever played. It's just so easy to compound mistakes out here, which, of course, you can do that in Major Championships in general, but especially this one.

"I think the biggest thing for me tomorrow, obviously, there's a ton of Major Champions on this leaderboard, and by no means is the job done. Not even close. But just keep doing what I'm doing. Make sure I just get myself on the green as fast as I can or at least minimise the mistakes."

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