US Open predictions: Fitzpatrick and McIlroy to make their moves

Warren Ashurst
LiveScore
18/06/202210:00
Matthew Fitzpatrick will look to close the gap on joint-leaders Collin Morikawa and Joel Dahmen
Matthew Fitzpatrick will look to close the gap on joint-leaders Collin Morikawa and Joel Dahmen

It promises to be an enthralling weekend at Brookline, with no fewer than 23 players within four shots of the lead going into Saturday's third round. 

Collin Morikawa and Joel Dahmen share the lead on five under par, but just a shot back are the likes of Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm while other big names look ready to make a burst from the pack. 

World No1 Scottie Scheffler is one of five players tied for eighth on three under, while first-round leader Adam Hadwin is just three shots off the pace. 

Fitzpatrick and Burns to catch fire

Although the majority of the field will feel they have still got a chance of lifting the trophy on Sunday, certain groups on Saturday stand out as real contenders. 

One of those pairings is Matthew Fitzpatrick and Sam Burns, who tee off their third rounds at 7.39pm BST.

As has been mentioned on more than one occasion this week, Englishman Fitzpatrick looks at home on a course where he won the US Amateur Championship in 2013. 

The European Ryder Cup star has been long off the tee, averaging 317 yards with his driver in round two and ranking 12th in the field for strokes gained off the tee stats. 

Meanwhile, Burns has already shown in the last couple of seasons that he should be challenging for the big events for years to come, having already secured four PGA Tour titles by the age of just 25. 

The man from Louisiana recently beat Scheffler in a play-off to claim the Charles Schwab Challenge, his second win of the year.

Burns now has the belief that he can be a Major champion, highlighted by his 67 on Friday — which could have been even better but for a double-bogey six at the 10th hole. 

McIlroy looking ominous

Rory McIlroy has finished in the top 10 in the last three US Opens
Rory McIlroy has finished in the top 10 in the last three US Opens

Another player who arrived at Brookline full of confidence was Rory McIlroy, following his win at last week's RBC Canadian Open, and he looks determined to collect his first Major since 2014. 

The Northern Irishman has one win and five other top-10 places to his name in 13 appearances at the US Open — finishing T9-T8-T7 in his last three years. 

McIlroy has received some criticism for his short iron play in recent months, but the world No3 is tied first for Greens in Regulation and tied third for birdies over the first two days. 

The four-time Major winner, who is paired with the impressive Aaron Wise on Saturday, holds the record for the lowest aggregate score at a US Open — 268 when winning at Congressional in 2011. 

Schauffele can make a burst

There are eight players currently T16 on one under going into round three, with Xander Schauffele among them as he seeks his first Major success. 

At 28, Schauffele has five PGA Tour titles to his name and the US Open looks to offer his best chance of claiming one of the Big Four. 

The American has started with rounds of 70 and 69 and fired four birdies on the back nine on Friday. 

His recent record in this event is also something to note — in five appearances he has finished T5-T6-T3-5-T7.

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