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Bryson DeChambeau wins US Open after Rory McIlroy's late collapse

Bryson DeChambeau wins US Open after Rory McIlroy's late collapse
Bryson DeChambeau wins US Open after Rory McIlroy's late collapse

 


By: Jack Hirsh June 16, 2024

Bryson DeChambeau sealed his second US Open victory with a clutch stoppage on the 72nd hole after Rory McIlroy collapsed down the stretch.

Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

For a while, Sunday seemed like the day Rory McIlroy would finally get his fifth major title.

After three birdies in four holes, including a lucky bounce off the stands at the 13th hole, McIlroy had turned what was a three-shot deficit to Bryson DeChambeau into a two-shot lead with five holes to play.

But he couldn't close.

McIlroy bogeyed three of his final four holes, including two short misses for par at the heartbreaking 16th and 18th that gave DeChambeau his second major of his career.

Playing in the pair ahead of DeChambeau, McIlroy's final hiccup was the most devastating. He was tied with DeChambeau at six under, but McIlroy holed a 3-foot-9 putt to make bogey on the 72nd hole. DeChambeau went up and down the bunker to reach his par and win by one.

DeChambeau shot a 1-over 71 and finished six under, while McIlroy (69) settled for a solo second.

On the 18th, DeChambeau fired his tee shot and drew an awkward lie into the sandy area and drove into a bunker 55 yards from the pin. And, like Payne Stewart 25 years ago at the first U.S. Open at Pinehurst, DeChambeau rode decisive ups and downs to win.

DeChambeau's winning putt measured 4 feet. He called the bunker shot “the shot of his life.”

“That’s Payne right there, baby,” he shouted shortly after sinking the final putt, pointing to a patch on his hat.

Earlier in his career, DeChambeau wore a flat cap similar to that of Stewart, who tragically died four months after his dramatic victory at the US Open in 1999, which he wore throughout his playing career. DeChambeau wore one again during the trophy shoot.

This is DeChambeau's second US Open title and second major overall, but first since leaving the PGA Tour for LIV Golf in 2022. He is now the second LIV golfer to win a major championship, joining Brooks Koepka at the 2023 PGA Championship.

DeChambeau has been in great form at the majors this year, finishing T6 at the Masters before placing second at the PGA last month.

At the US Open, there are winners, losers, heartbreak and hope By: Josh Berhow

” I do not know what to think. It hasn’t been completely understood yet,” DeChambeau said. “I just want everyone to enjoy it too. As much as this is heartbreaking for some people, it was also heartbreaking for me at the PGA. I really wanted this one.

DeChambeau admitted, however, that he is a very different person than the one who triumphed at Winged Foot four years ago, a US Open played without fans and in September due to the pandemic. It was the fans who gave the 30-year-old his energy this week, easily becoming a crowd favorite by focusing on having fun while competing.

This was on display all week with his fiery and emotional attitude throughout his celebrations. He even spoke to fans and signed autographs during tournaments, which is almost unheard of in the sport.

“These are direct conversations with people who are genuinely interested in what I do. It’s such a great and awesome platform for me to show who I really am,” DeChambeau said. “These fans really helped me come out today. Even when things weren't going well, I was just looking at the screen over there, I didn't have anything there, I didn't even have to try to do that. But you know me ; I don't play boring golf.

His game certainly wasn't boring. After dazzling all week with gargantuan drives, DeChambeau struggled to get off the tee on Sunday. He was seen tweaking his driver just minutes before setting off for the final round and admitted to changing his driver head.

He only hit five fairways on Sunday, but until the 18th hole he made just one horrible lie in the sandy areas off the Pinehurst fairways. He didn't birdie until the 10th hole, but gave it back at the 12th. He birdied 13 after driving the green with a 3-wood but gave it back again with a 4-foot miss on 15.

But it was his short game that shone Sunday, going up and down around the delicate domed greens of Pinehurst No. 2 5 of 7 times, including the crucial 72nd hole.

This was necessary because DeChambeau hit his worst drive of the week, pulling it left into the sand zone. Its ball was free of large clumps of stringy grass, but was within inches of a large root. His backswing would be into a tree branch above him. He asked a rules official for line of sight relief from a stand, but was denied.

“I was actually afraid of getting hurt when I got out. I was trying to get relief from TIO, but unfortunately I had nothing in my way,” he said. “I was trying to run it to the left of that bunker, get it up onto the green, give myself a two-putt. I had no pushback. At some point I'm like, okay, I have to hack it; I hope this continues, but it doesn't.

After addressing the shot several times trying to feel a backswing, he finally hacked, sending his ball into the bunker. From there, he exploded out of the sand with a 55-degree wedge, landing his ball 40 feet from the pin and kicking forward on a downslope and releasing toward the hole before stopping 4 feet away from the hole, preparing for the decisive putt.

Rory McIlroy just lost the US Open in heartbreaking and agonizing fashion By: Dylan Dethier

On the other end of the spectrum, McIlroy continued his struggles to win major tournaments. He has recorded 21 top-10s in majors since his last victory, more than anyone in that time, but has failed to get over the hump since the 2014 PGA Championship.

He lost the lead on the back nine of the 2022 Open Championship, but he was overtaken that day by Cam Smith. It was a collapse. When McIlroy birdied the 13th, he led DeChambeau by two, then missed the long green at the 15th, leading to a bogey.

On the massive par-4 16th, he found the heart of the green, but with three putts, abruptly missing a par putt by two feet six inches as he power-liped down the left side. It was his first miss by less than a yard on the PGA Tour all season. It was 496 for 496 before.

He came out of the bunker on 17 and appeared to have at least secured a playoff spot when he pitched from the green on 18 to 4 feet. He hit the shot and the putt slipped low.

McIlroy refused to speak to the media after the round and his plane reportedly took off at 7:29 p.m., just 53 minutes after DeChambeau made the winning putt.

“Rory is one of the best to ever play the game,” DeChambeau said. “To be able to fight a big guy like that is pretty special. If he missed that putt, I wouldn't wish it on anyone. It happened like this.

Jack Hirsh Golf.com Editor

Jack Hirsh is an associate editor at GOLF. A native of Pennsylvania, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, where he earned degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school's golf team and recently returned to the program as head coach. Jack still *tries* to stay competitive among local amateurs. Prior to joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a television station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a multimedia journalist/reporter, but also as a producer, anchor, and even weatherman. He can be contacted at [email protected].

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