Who gets up, who fights and who wins on Sunday at the US Open

Brooklyn, MA – There was drama at this US Open from the moment the players arrived at the accommodation. Before you started, it wasn’t all about golf. It was about the condition of the golf. Now, it’s all about golf, with a leaderboard containing a mix of stars, entrants, and a few contenders.

So what happens on Sunday? Our experts take the best shots.

Mark Schlabach: Before he struggled on his back nine on Saturday, I was going to say Scotty Scheffler. He is the #1 player in the world and has won more than any other player on the tour this season. His play has lagged a bit lately, but what happened during a five-hole stretch on Saturday — when he missed a two-shot lead and returned five hits — was pretty surprising. McIlroy is fifth on the PGA Tour in final round scoring average. He hit 62 on Sunday last week in a win at the RBC Canadian Open, 68 in the final round in the PGA Championship and 64 on Sunday in the Masters.

Michael Collins: Jon Ram still believes he is number one in the world. He’s the title holder and he wants to do what Rory did last week but in a stronger field – remind them who is the best. And when he starts to “feel it” he’s going to take some long kicks because that’s what he does.

Kevin Van Valkenburg: Archer. It wasn’t the season we all thought it might be for Ram, but he still has the most complete match of those three. The racket is heating up – finally. Scheffler and McIlroy can get complicated, and this includes making a bunch of ghost when it starts off badly. Ram feels as if he has learned to channel his anger into intense focus. If Will Zalatores slips and Matt Fitzpatrick slips, I think Ram slips away with back-to-back US openers.

Paolo Augeti: Ram is the safe answer here, but since my co-workers have explained why, I’ll take control of the McIlroy case. It’s been an up and down week for the face of the PGA Tour, but the fact that he’s still only 3 shots away after grinding through so many bad shots makes me think it’s not over yet. At the very least, the 2011 US Open champion wouldn’t fail to make it fun.

There’s also a bunch of players in the mix looking for their first major title. Who has the best chance of getting it?

Schalbach: I was very impressed with Fitzpatrick’s development this year. He plays with much more confidence and he can win on Sunday. He won the 2013 American Amateur Award at The Country, so he obviously loves the place. He tied for 14th in the Masters Tournament and tied for fifth in the PGA Championship. He doesn’t hit the ball very far, but he hits it straight and is great in and around the green.

Collins: Fitzpatrick. The weather will make him feel at home. You have already won here. He’ll also understand that it wouldn’t take perfect golf to win. He’s a patient player, and that’s what wins tournaments like this in really tough conditions.

Van Valkenburg: Xalatores. It was my pick at the start of the week, and I’m sticking with it, even though I really like Fitzpatrick. Zalatoris has an obvious weakness – his situation – but he doesn’t seem frightened of the moment with his hit with the ball.

Ogite: Zalatoris feels it deserves. The guy has come close more than a few times now and has the game to play in tough conditions. The situation looks better, and that might be enough to put him on top in the end.

What is the least trusted name on the leaderboard?

Schalbach: Nick Hardy, who played for Illinois, has a very bright future in golf. He’s not quite ready for this stage. The playoffs have been a great story, but he returned 3 shots on Saturday, and he’ll likely bring back more on Sunday.

Collins: Adam Hadwin. Toronto is my favorite city. But even in Canadian weather, I don’t trust a Canadian to win the US Open this year. Sorry for all my peeps from Tim Hortons.

Van Valkenburg: I apologize to Canada but my answer is Adam Hadwin. It would be a great story, but I don’t see it.

Ogite: Sorry, I’m not sorry for the Greater Boston area, but Keegan Bradley didn’t make it to the end of the story line. At least he went through the Saturday 18th Glamor Walk, which he describes as one of the greatest moments of his life. How can you top it?

The country club really showed its teeth on Saturday. What is this in mind, what is the winning outcome?

Schalbach: I’d be surprised if Zalatores, Fitzpatrick, and Ram all exploded on Sunday, so I’ll go with a 6 under. Conditions were very rough on Saturday, as the winds were howling and the greens were slippery. Expectations are for temperatures to rise below 60 degrees on Sunday. It will feel like an open tournament.

Collins: I think 2 under wins. Conditions are going to be tougher than they have been all week. The cold temperatures make it very difficult to judge how far the ball will fly out of the rough area. With that in mind, the guy with the least amount of battle scars would win.

Van Valkenburg: I’m going with 5 under. It will be cold on Sunday. We may not see the wind we saw on Saturday, but the ball won’t fly. There will be potential to move up the leaderboard as Justin Thomas did in the PGA Championship, but I think 68 might be the best result out there. Anyone 1 under or better at this.

Ogite: Give me an equal winning round on Sunday from one of the guys at 4 under. It will get colder and the wind may not calm down. The cycle is getting brown and there’s a good chance we’ll still see some of the carnage we saw late Saturday.

Well, who will win?

Schalbach: Shane Lowry chose to win, and the Irishman missed the score. I have a feeling Zalatoris is finally getting it done. He has been one of the best players in the world since finishing second in the 2021 Masters Tournament. He’s been knocking on the door at all the big business, and his time has come (as long as his racket is up).

Collins: John Ram defends his title.

Van Valkenburg: Xalatores. We get some wiggling bangs under the extension, but also some irons that are perfectly tagged. McIlroy would run a short run that would send The Country Club into a frenzy, but Zalatoris ultimately eliminates Rahm to win his first major.

Ogite: I’d go with Fitzpatrick just for some variety and elegant storyline to book his US Amateur Championship win in 2013 by winning the US Open at the same venue nine years later. He even lives in the same house!

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