U.S. Open: Bryson DeChambeau outduels Rory McIlroy for title

Bryson DeChambeau

PINEHURST, N.C. — Bryson DeChambeau survived a duel on the back nine with Rory McIlroy on Sunday to win the 124th U.S. Open, prevailing at the storied Pinehurst No. 2 course where his boyhood idol, Payne Stewart, won 25 years ago.

It was DeChambeau’s second major victory. He also won the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot. He shot 71 on Sunday to finish at 274.

DeChambeau, 30, found the rough and a bunker on the 72nd hole but put his third shot close to the hole. He drained the putt for his second U.S. Open title.

The winner’s nervy putting and the ability to get up and down in the clutch enabled him to hold off McIlory, who was attempting to win his first major in a decade.

“Can you believe that? Oh my God,” DeChambeau exclaimed.

DeChambeau won Sunday’s title at the same course where Stewart won in 1999.

McIlroy finished in the runner-up spot in a major tournament for the fourth time.

He trailed by three shots to open Sunday’s final round and even took a two-shot lead with five holes to play, but shaky putting over the final three holes doomed his chances for his fifth major title and first since the 2014 PGA Championship.

McIlroy shot 69 on Sunday to finish at 5-under-par 275.

Tony Finau and Patrick Cantlay tied for third place at 276. Finau shot 67 on Sunday and Cantlay shot even-par 70.

Matthieu Pavon of France finished fifth, shooting a 71 for a 277 total.

McIlroy started hot Sunday, sinking a 20-foot putt at the first hole and bookended birdie putts at Nos. 9 and 10 -- a 27-footer at the 10th hole -- to tie DeChambeau, who was 1-over-par for the day after nine holes.

But DeChambeau regained the lead at No. 10 with a 5-footer for his first birdie of the final round. He then saved par at No. 11 after finding the bunker.

McIlroy, 35, continued to put the pressure on DeChambeau, dropping a birdie putt at No. 12 to regain a share of the lead. At No. 13, he flew the green but his ball ricocheted off a fence and rolled back toward the green. He dropped his putt for his fourth birdie over five holes to take a two-shot lead. He lost a shot when DeChambeau birdied the 13th but saved par with a 4 1/2 putt at No. 14.

McIlroy’s bogey at No. 15 dropped him back into a tie, but he regained the lead when DeChambeau lipped out a short putt for bogey -- his first three-putt of the tournament.

The pressure continued, as McIlroy bogeyed at No. 16, a back-to-back miss that dropped him into a tie with DeChambeau.

At No. 11, DeChambeau missed his fourth straight fairway, putting his tee shot in the sandy rough. He bogeyed the hole to lose the outright lead for the first time in the tournament.

But at No. 13, DeChambeau regained his composure, barely missing an eagle putt and tapping in for birdie.

DeChambeau was chasing his second major and second U.S. Open title. He won the 2020 event at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, New York, and was the runner-up at the PGA Championship last month at Valhalla Golf Course in Louisville, Kentucky.

DeChambeau went to the LIV Golf League in 2022 for a contract reportedly worth between $100 million and $125 million guaranteed.

He was the only golfer in the tournament to shoot 60s in all three of his rounds. He shot 3-under-par 67 on Saturday despite needing help from his therapist near the 11th tee when his ailing right hip began to tighten up at No. 9, Golfweek reported.

According to the USGA, players are allowed up to two five-minute therapy sessions during a round, NBC Sports reported. DeChambeau was stretched before standing back up to hit his tee shot at No. 11.

McIlroy was hoping to end a decade-long drought at a major golf tournament. The four-time major winner won the 2011 U.S. Open, the 2012 PGA Championship, the 2014 British Open and the 2014 PGA Championship.

While a major has eluded him, McIlroy, 35, has remained competitive on golf’s biggest stages, posting 21 top-10 finishes and finishing in the top five 11 times, Sports Illustrated reported.

The golfer from Northern Ireland has 26 victories on the PGA Tour, including his fourth victory at the Wells Fargo Championship on May 12, according to NBC Sports. He is tied with Henry Picard in 22nd place for most all-time PGA Tour victories.

Cantlay, 32, has eight wins on the PGA Tour and was seeking his first win of 2024 after a pair of top-10 finishes. He has not won a Tour event since 2022, when he captured the BMW Championship and the Zurich Classic of New Orleans that year.

Pavon, who was tied for second with McIlroy heading into Sunday’s final round, was three shots off the lead on Sunday and bidding to become the first Frenchman to win the U.S. Open. The 31-year-old native of France is a rookie on the PGA Tour this year and won his first tour event at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines earlier this year, according to The Sporting News.

While a newcomer on the PGA Tour, Pavon has been a pro for more than a decade. He turned professional in 2013 and played on the Alps Tour and Challenge Tour before joining the European Tour in 2017, according to the magazine.

Pavon, making his seventh appearance in a major, had previously made the cut only two times before, The Sporting News reported. He finished tied for 25th at the 2018 U.S. Open and tied for 12th at this year’s Masters.

He was trying to end a 117 majors drought for French golfers. The last win by a Frenchman came in 1907, when Arnaud Massey won the 1907 British Open at Royal Liverpool.

More recently, Jean van de Velde had a three-stroke lead entering the final hole of the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie but had a triple-bogey 7 to force a four-hole playoff with Paul Lawrie and Justin Leonard, ESPN reported. Van de Velde would lose to Lawrie in one of golf’s greatest meltdowns.

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