Golf: Bryson DeChambeau eclipses Rory McIlroy to win second US Open title

Bryson DeChambeau captured his second US Open title on Sunday, but it was an epic late collapse by a gutted Rory McIlroy that will be remembered from the thrilling showdown at Pinehurst.

Overtaken by McIlroy with six holes remaining to play, DeChambeau kept his poise over the dome-shaped greens and sandy waste areas of Pinehurst to rally for the crown.

McIlroy, thwarted in a bid to end a 10-year major win drought, led by two strokes with five holes to play.

But the four-time major winner from Northern Ireland made bogeys on three of the last four holes — two on short par putts at 16 and 18 — to help hand DeChambeau the trophy.

“I still can’t believe it,” said DeChambeau. “It’s unbelievable.”

DeChambeau, who also won the 2020 US Open, fired a one-over-par 71 to finish on six-under-par 274 while McIlroy shot 69 to stand on 275 after 72 holes.

In addition to taking the $4.3 million winner’s prize from a record $21.5 million purse, DeChambeau will jump from 38th to 10th in the next world rankings and have five more years of starts in all majors.

In a collapse mindful of Greg Norman’s epic 1996 last-round loss to Nick Faldo at the Masters, McIlroy missed par putts from 2.5 feet at the par-4 16th and just inside four feet at the par-4 18th — tension-packed bogeys that left McIlroy one behind in the thriller.

“Being able to fight against a great like that is pretty special,” DeChambeau said of McIlroy, who left the course without speaking to media after his agonising collapse.

“For him to miss that putt (at 18), I’d never wish it on anybody. It just happened to play out that way,” DeChambeau added.

‘Best shot of my life’

DeChambeau found dirt and weeds left and a bunker at 18 but blasted his third shot to four feet and sank his pressure-packed putt for the victory.

“I was not great today but I got out of trouble really well and then, man, I can’t believe that up and down the last — that was All-World, probably the best shot of my life.”

Raising his arms in triumph, DeChambeau screamed and jumped for joy, then paid tribute to the late Payne Stewart, the 1999 US Open winner at Pinehurst who died only a few months later.

“That’s Payne right there, baby,” DeChambeau said into a television camera, pointing to a pin of Stewart on his cap.

The 30-year-old American became the second active player of Saudi-backed LIV Golf to win a major title after Brooks Koepka in the 2023 PGA Championship.

It was the sixth consecutive win by an American in a major since Spain’s Jon Rahm took last year’s Masters.

Americans Tony Finau and Patrick Cantlay shared third on 276, two off the pace, with Finau firing a 67. France’s Matthieu Pavon was fifth on 277 after a 71, one stroke ahead of Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, who fired a 70 to stand on 278.

DeChambeau answered bogeys at the fourth and 12th holes with birdies at the par-5 10th and par-4 13th to keep the pressure on McIlroy until he cracked.

“I felt like I was hitting the driver pretty well. It just wasn’t starting exactly where I wanted to hit to,” DeChambeau said. “Ultimately on 13 I knew I had to make birdie there to give myself a chance, because Rory was going on a heater.

“He slipped up a couple on the way coming in and I just kept staying the course, focused on trying to do as many fairways as I could.”

McIlroy settled for his second US Open runner-up effort in a row and his 21st top-10 finish since last winning a major at the 2014 PGA Championship.

DeChambeau suffered his first three-putt bogey of the tournament, lipping out a four-foot par putt at the par-3 15th to fall one back, only for McIlroy to botch his short putts, his only misses of the day inside five feet.

Pavon failed in his bid to become the second Frenchman to win a major title after Arnaud Massy at the 1907 British Open.

World number one Scottie Scheffler, the huge pre-tournament favorite, fired a two-over 72 to stand on eight-over 288 for what was only his second finish outside the top-10 this year.

“Didn’t play my best. A bit frustrating to end,” he said. “I definitely need to do some things better.”

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