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US Open: Bryson DeChambeau wins second major after Rory McIlroy’s horror late collapse

By Jack Bantock, CNN

(CNN) — American Bryson DeChambeau won his second US Open title on Sunday, edging Rory McIlroy in a nerve-shredding finale at Pinehurst No. 2 in Pinehurst, North Carolina.

LIV Golf star DeChambeau carded a final round one-over 71 to finish one stroke ahead of his Northern Irish counterpart at six-under overall and add to his first major victory in 2020.

It resigned world No. 3 McIlroy to yet another heartbreaking near-miss as his 10-year wait for a fifth major title continues. The 35-year-old played brilliantly to surge from three shots behind to two ahead of DeChambeau, only to miss two putts from inside four feet across the last two holes.

Left needing to close with par to win, DeChambeau held his nerve to triumph and exorcise the demons of falling one stroke short of the PGA Championship to compatriot Xander Schauffele last month.

With his victory falling on Father’s Day, an emotional DeChambeau began his winner’s speech by dedicating the trophy to his father Jon, who died in 2022.

“First off I want to say a Happy Father’s Day to every father out there,” DeChambeau said.
“This one is for him.”

It makes the 30-year-old the second golfer after last year’s PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka to win a major after departing the PGA Tour for LIV Golf. Cameron Smith and Jon Rahm joined the Saudi-backed circuit after their victories at the 2022 Open Championship and 2023 Masters respectively.

Once maligned by some fans, DeChambeau – whose personal YouTube channel continues to amass subscribers – has become a crowd-favorite at the majors this year and further consolidated that reputation at Pinehurst.

The California-born golfer mixed thrilling play with regular fan interaction throughout, wooing fans one final time by delivering on his victor’s speech promise to let them touch the trophy and ferrying it around the throngs gathered at the 18th green.

“I just can’t thank you guys enough for all the support this week,” he added to the crowd. “You guys have meant the world to me. You are the best fans in the world and I can’t thank you enough.”

The joyous scenes served as a stark contrast to the agony undoubtedly felt by McIlroy, who declined to speak to media after his final round one-under 69.

McIlroy has plugged away at ending his major drought with remarkable consistency since his last triumph at the 2014 Open Championship, finishing inside the top-10 on 20 of his 36 subsequent appearances at the four flagship events, including his last five in a row at the US Open.

He has been a major runner-up three times before, his most recent to Wyndham Clark at last year’s tournament, but the fourth has the potential to haunt him the most given the context.

Three bogeys and a par across his last four holes, compounded by two horror close-range misses, resigned him to a closing 69. Even one stroke better would ultimately have been enough to force DeChambeau into a playoff.

McIlroy had made his previous 496 putts from inside three feet before his miss for par at the 16th, according to the PGA Tour.

The curtain falls on the 2024 men’s major calendar with the 152nd Open Championship at Royal Troon in Scotland on July 18, where American Brian Harman will seek to defend the Claret Jug.

Scheffler endures rare torrid week

Scottie Scheffler’s miserable week ended in another birdie-less round as the world No.
1 toiled to a tied-41st finish at eight-over par overall, his worst major performance in two years.

Five wins in his previous eight starts – including last week’s Memorial Tournament – had seen Scheffler arrive at Pinehurst as the overwhelming favorite yet he struggled to cope with the course’s firm and fast greens, the typically unflappable Texan’s frustrations bubbling over as he narrowly scraped under the cut line Friday.

A third round one-over 71 meant Scheffler had shot four consecutive rounds over par for the first time in a professional career spanning 120 PGA Tour events, and the unwanted streak extended to five as he signed off with a 72.

April’s Masters champion had gone 168 rounds with at least one birdie before his second round 74, and had not finished outside the top-25 at a major since missing the cut at the 2022 PGA Championship.

Both streaks had extended through a tied-eighth finish at last month’s PGA Championship, a result achieved despite his arrest and release from jail during the major.

“I couldn’t hole anything. I could not see the break on these greens,” Scheffler, who has since seen all charges against him dismissed, told reporters Sunday.

“The greens this week kind of had my number. I felt like I hit a lot of really good putts that did weird things at the cup that I was not expecting them to do.”

“I’ve been on a good stretch of golf,” he added. “Had one tough event following a great event. I’m not really going to look too much into it but focus more on my prep.”

Scheffler finished 12 shots behind his compatriots Tony Finau and Patrick Cantlay, who shared third place at four-under overall, one shot behind McIlroy. France’s Matthieu Pavon finished a further stroke back.

Unfamiliar territory

A virtuoso third round 67 that was as entertaining as it was excellent had rocketed DeChambeau into the final 18 holes with a plush – yet unfamiliar – three shot cushion.

The Californian had never before held the 54-hole lead at a major championship. Though he had ultimately cantered to victory at Winged Foot six years ago, he had trailed Matthew Wolff by two strokes ahead of the final round before tearing away from his compatriot down the stretch.

DeChambeau said Saturday he was aiming to play “boring golf” to get over the line, and looked to be delivering on his plan as he made a steady – albeit unspectacular – start with six pars and a bogey through the opening seven holes.

Yet that strategy, and his nerve, soon came under enormous scrutiny. Unlike Wolff four years ago, McIlroy was showing no signs of fading. Far from it – he was catching fire.

The steely-eyed Northern Irishman was making a mockery of the firm and fast greens that had humbled so much of the field across the week. After two birdies from beyond 20 feet, McIlroy lasered in his fourth in a five-hole stretch at the 13th.

With DeChambeau bogeying the 12th, McIlroy headed to the next tee box with a two stroke cushion. The picture had changed entirely in less than 20 minutes, yet it took the same amount of time for it to reset as DeChambeau capitalized on a bogey from his rival to draw level just two holes later.

It set up a climax that would serve as the ultimate test of nerve and DeChambeau blinked first, a birdie opportunity turning into a bogey as his four-foot par putt lipped out of the 15th cup.

Incredibly though, McIlroy would mirror the error from even closer range mere moments later to surrender his lead and set in motion a meltdown to rival his infamous collapse at the Masters in 2011.

Yet the minor consolation of that spiral at Augusta National was that victory had all but vanished shortly after he made the turn.

This time, the nightmare ran on till to the last two-and-a-half feet, as a simple conversion for par at the 18th green would have forced DeChambeau to birdie to avoid a playoff.

There was a glimmer of hope as DeChambeau went from a hook into the native area to a bunker, but the American recovered superbly with a stunning 55-yard approach to within four feet of the cup.

Watching anxiously on a clubhouse TV, McIlroy could only watch as DeChambeau safely avoided making the same mistake he did.

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