Heavy winds blow US Open field apart as Fitzpatrick and Zalatoris co-lead

    Will Zalatoris hits on the eighth hole during the third round of the US Open.

    (CNN)The US Open is teed up for a tantalizing grandstand finish following a quite literal whirlwind third round at The Country Club Saturday.

    As heavy winds in Brookline wreaked havoc across the field, the picture at the top of the leaderboard was blown wide-open, with Will Zalatoris and Matt Fitzpatrick sharing the lead at four-under par heading into Sunday's deciding round.
    Blustery conditions -- a subject in every post-round news conference -- contributed to an array of helter-skelter scorecards, with a mere 10 of the 64-man field scoring at least par, and only seven carding under. It means just four strokes separate the leading duo from Nick Hardy in 10th place.
      Reigning champion Jon Rahm had looked poised to end the day in pole position to defend his crown, surging through the penultimate four holes before double bogeying the 18th to leave him one stroke off the leading pair.
        The Jekyll and Hyde round of Scottie Scheffler epitomized the day. Having sped into the lead with a blistering front nine featuring two birdies and a stunning eagle, the world number one endured a dismal stretch of a double bogey and three consecutive bogeys after the turn.
        Scheffler and caddie Ted Scott brave the wind.
        He ended the day two shots off the lead at two-under, joined by compatriot Keegan Bradley and qualifier Adam Hadwin, the surprise early front-runner from Thursday's opening round.
        Co-leader heading into Saturday had been Collin Morikawa, who became one of the biggest casualties of the Brookline winds. After posting 69 and 66 through the first two rounds, the American shot two double bogeys en route to carding a 77, leaving him six strokes off the front.
          Morikawa's co-leader at the start of the day, Joel Dahmen, fared better despite also dropping down the leaderboard, shooting a 74 to end the day three strokes off the summit alongside Sam Burns and Rory McIlroy.

          Zalatoris ready to avenge major heartbreak

          Ranked 14th in the world, Zalatoris starred with a round-best 67. The American has come agonizingly close in recent years, missing out on the Masters by a stroke in 2021 before suffering a playoff defeat to Justin Thomas at the PGA Championship in May.
          Having already labeled The Country Club course as the hardest he'd ever played regardless of the weather, Zalatoris revealed conditions were so "brutal" he didn't aim shots at any of the hole's flags.
           Zalatoris reacts to his tee shot on the 18th tee.
          Now 18 shots from glory, the 25-year-old believes he has what it takes to get over the line.
          "Coming off the PGA [Championship] it gave me a lot of belief and confidence that I belong in this situation," Zalatoris told reporters.
          "There's a difference in thinking it, and then actually being in the situation and believing it ... I've put myself in this situation a few times in my career, and obviously have to go ou