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DeChambeau bags second US Open after McIlroy’s late collapse – Golf News

By admin Jun17,2024

Bryson DeChambeau won his second US Open title in four years after prevailing in a battle of the ages with Rory McIlroy on a dramatic Sunday afternoon at Pinehurst, where the outcome of the season’s third major championship lay in the balance until the very last shot.

The heavyweight showdown between two of the sport’s biggest stars – and poster boys for their rival tours – more than lived up to its billing, with the pair trading hammer blows from the off until the last man was left standing some five hours later.

Holding a three-shot lead after 54 holes, DeChambeau was out in the last group with Matthieu Pavon, who was bidding to become the first Frenchman to win a major since Francis Ouimet in 1913, while McIlroy, bidding to end a 10-year drought in the majors, was paired with Patrick Cantlay for the first time since last year’s fiery Ryder Cup encounter, one group ahead.

The tightly packed group of players in the groups lower down the leaderboard quickly thinned out, with Ludvig Åberg, the US Open debutant who led after 36 holes, making a triple-bogey seven on the second hole to effectively remove himself from contention, while Pavon’s birdie on the third was offset by dropped shots at the first, fourth, eighth and 12th to end France’s hopes of major glory.

Hideki Matsuyama, one of the few players within touching distance, opened with eight successive pars but dropped back a shot with a bogey on the 9th, while Cantlay’s putter was stone cold all day, leaving the two main protagonists to slug it out over the back nine.

Bryson DeChambeau celebrates holing out from four feet at the last to win the championship

STATEMENT OF INTENT

McIlroy wasted no time closing the gap on the leader when holing from 20 feet for birdie at the first, a statement of intent that hinted at the battle ahead. DeChambeau, who had the change the head of his driver just 15 minutes ahead of his tee time, overcame a series of early bad breaks, saving pars from drives that landed in a fairway divot on the first and a bunker on the second.

His lead was reduced to one after a bogey on the 4th, but McIlroy gave the shot back moments later at the par-5 fifth after what appeared to be an pin-point approach with a wedge that rolled all the way down the hill and into a sandy area from which he could only make bogey.

McIlroy put his tee shot at the par-three ninth to 15 feet to turn in 34 and back at the eighth DeChambeau was creating huge cheers, completing a remarkable up-and-down to save par and stay one ahead.

A lay-up after finding the waste area off the tee at the par-five 10th meant McIlroy had 27 feet to join the lead and he drained it, but DeChambeau also found the waste area off the tee and played a lay-up, following it with a beautiful pitch to five feet to get his nose back in front.

He would not be alone for long, as McIlroy holed from 22 feet on the 12th and the 35-year-old led alone after DeChambeau was punished with a bogey after finding the waste area down the right off the tee on the same hole.

The tee at the 13th had been brought forward and McIlroy briefly led by two after driving to the side of the green and getting up and down, but DeChambeau drove onto the putting surface and got down in two himself.

Rory McIlroy endured a horror show over the closing four holes, dropping three shots and missing two-foot putts on the 16th and 18th

MCILROY’S COSTLY MISSES

McIlroy dropped a shot at the 15th after putting his tee shot over the green, but DeChambeau three-putted the same hole only for McIlroy to return the favour at the 16th, missing a two-footer for par to leave the pair back in a tie.

A recovery from a poor tee shot meant McIlroy had two feet for par on the last but he could not make the putt and left the door open for DeChambeau’s big finish. The 2020 champion hit his tee shot at the last into the left-hand scrub, with his ball coming to rest beside a tree root. He gouged his second shot into a bunker short of the green, and then hit a sensational third shot from 55 feet that rolled to within four feet, where he rolled home the putt before celebrating in a style that only DeChambeau knows how.

DeChambeau signed for a one-over 71 to finish on six-under for the week, one better than McIlroy, whose 69 left him in the runner-up spot for the second year running after also losing out by one shot to Wyndham Clark in Los Angeles last year.

“I still can’t believe that up-and-down,” DeChambeau said while taking in a replay during the trophy ceremony. “Probably the best shot of my life.”

As for McIlroy, he cut a disconsolate figure as he watched the action unfold from the scorer’s hut, turning on his heals and heading for the car park, and then a waiting private jet, as soon as he saw his rival’s winning putt drop.

“Rory is one of the best to ever play. Being able to fight against a great like that is pretty special,” DeChambeau said. “For him to miss that putt, I’d never wish it on anybody. It just happened to play out that way.”

DeChambeau’s win extends a run of dominance by Americans in the majors not seen in more than four decades. Six different US players have won each of the past six majors, starting with Brooks Koepka at the US PGA Championship last year, Wyndham Clark at last year’s US Open, Brian Harman at the Open, Scottie Scheffler at Augusta and Xander Schauffele last month at Valhalla.

For all the scores from the 124th US Open Championship, and video clips of the final round action, click here

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