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BROOKLINE, Mass. — Will Zalatoris fell brief once more, and this time, he thought he had it.

After lacking a 14-foot birdie putt on the 18th gap that might have put him in a playoff with winner Matt Fitzpatrick, Zalatoris could not assist however sigh as he obtained the silver medal for second place on the US Open on Sunday. He spoke to the media because the screens confirmed Fitzpatrick lifting the trophy, after which Zalatoris walked away with a pressured smile. He needed to go away the stage to let the champion cross.

“This one, particularly, hurts fairly a bit,” mentioned Zalatoris, who now has six top-10 finishes in 9 main races, together with three second-place finishes. “I am three pictures away from virtually being… having a shot at being a three-time Grand Slam champion. A bounce right here or there.”

The 25-year-old entered motion on Sunday with out a main win or a PGA Tour victory, however with a variety of confidence. He had mentioned on Saturday that his latest runner-up end to Justin Thomas at this 12 months’s PGA Championship had given him the idea that he may very well be among the best gamers on this planet. However religion could not push his putt just a few inches nearer to the opening.

“With about six ft to go, I assumed I had it,” Zalatoris mentioned of his putt. “It hurts, clearly. To have three finalists to this point in my main league profession.”

Zalatoris entered Sunday tied for the lead with Fitzpatrick. Zalatoris struggled early on, making two bogeys within the first 5 holes earlier than his ever-elusive putter caught fireplace. He birdied 4 of the subsequent six holes and, at one level, had a two-shot lead over Fitzpatrick.

“I fought like loopy,” Zalatoris mentioned, calling his driving in the course of the week “appalling” and including that his hip was bothering him. The 2021 Masters runner-up’s common issues have come together with his putter, however as he mentioned with a smile on Sunday, his putt was effective.

“I am certain all of the assholes on Instagram will say it has one thing to do with my left wrist flexing,” Zalatoris mentioned of the 18th putt. “I promise you, it has nothing to do with it.”

Each of Zalatoris’ expensive errors got here on the again 9. On the twelfth gap, he missed the green and needed to punch, inflicting a 2-putt bogey. On the fifteenth, he misplaced the road once more. Fitzpatrick did too, nevertheless it slipped his thoughts a lot that he had a greater lie than Zalatoris, who was uncooked. Fitzpatrick birdied. Zalatoris bogeyed. The benefit was then 2 in favor of Fitzpatrick.

On the par 3 of the sixteenth, Zalatoris made a birdie to sit down 1 again. However when Fitzpatrick saved his bunker-finding miss with an ideal iron shot on the 18th inexperienced, the strain was again on Zalatoris, who later known as Fitzpatrick’s strategy shot “1 in 20.”

“I knew very properly that Will was going to hit him shut,” Fitzpatrick mentioned. “He is likely one of the greatest focus gamers on the tour.”

Zalatoris hit him simply inside 15 ft. Fitzpatrick 2-putted for pair, so Zalatoris knew what he needed to do. When he hit the ball and watched it undergo the opening with out falling, it was Zalatoris who fell to his knees in agony. The champion was decided.

“I’ve already been requested, how nervous had been you on the 18th putt?” Zalatoris mentioned. “It is like he has nothing to lose. Both he will get in or he does not get in.”

Even after a troublesome loss, Zalatoris projected confidence and mentioned he has the recipe for successful. With lower than a month till the subsequent main occasion, The Open at St. Andrews, Zalatoris mentioned he is glad to be again at it once more quickly.

“I am not proud of ending second,” he mentioned. “Clearly I am attempting to do it. The consolation stage is there, particularly now that I do know I can do that. I simply need to preserve ready my flip.”

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