US Open 2024: DeChambeau Closing In On 2nd U.S. Open Title

by | Jun 15, 2024 | Pro News

DeChambeau Closing In On Second U.S. Open Title

 Bryson DeChambeau slugged it out with Donald Ross well enough in the third round of the U.S. Open to take a three-shot lead into Sunday’s round. DeChambeau’s third-round, three-under-par 67 (for a 54-hole total of 203) on Ross’s Pinehurst No. 2 masterpiece could have been better had it not been for a double-bogey on the 16th hole. He recovered with a birdie on the pat-3, 17th hole – his seventh of the day – to set the stage for what could be his second U.S. Open in five years. DeChambeau won the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot.

During one stretch in his round, DeChamabeau recorded six consecutive birdies – an almost unheard performance in any major championship, let alone a U.S. Open on Pinehurst No. 2.

“Amazing. Made a lot of great putts today,’’ said DeChambeau, whose monstrous drives and precision short game were met by roars from the spectators on every hole.“

Patrick Cantlay, Rory McIlroy and Mattthieu Pavon each go into the final round at four-under par. McIlroy, still looking for his first U.S. Open title, goes into the final round in the top 10 of a U.S. Open for the sixth consecutive year. McIlroy finished second to Wyndham Clark in the ‘23 U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club.

“I’m pretty much in the same position that I was last year going into the final day at LACC,’’ said McIlroy, who is looking for his fifth major championship. “So familiar position, been here many times before, and hopefully tomorrow I produce the golf that’s needed to go one better.’’

Going into the final round, one big question is the condition of DeChambeau’s right hip. DeChambeau had a physical therapist work on what he termed “tightness in the hip before he teed off on the 11th hole.

“It was tougher to get through on a couple of shots,’’ DeChambeau said. “ It’s okay. I’ve had it for a long time now. It’s just something that popped up.

“I’ve been playing a lot of good golf lately and working on my house, trying to get my house finished, so I haven’t really had time to rest like I want to. The two weeks I had off after the PGA (Championship), I was really grinding and focusing on some stuff there. I wasn’t really able to rest. I’ve just been pushing myself a little bit, pushing the house a bit. Consequently, that’s going to happen. But I’ve got a great team around me to help fix some stuff up.’’

For all his swashbuckling shots and fan interaction on Saturday, DeChambeau promised a more-low final round.

“Trying to have boring golf. Middle of the greens never moves, so I am going to try and hit a lot of the greens, give myself some good looks on some holes, and two-putt a lot.’’

Aberg Sits Alone at the Top of The  U.S. Open Leaderboard Going into Weekend Play

It’s far too early to tell yet, but when golf historians look back on the 2024 U.S. Open, it might be viewed as a “passing the torch’’ moment.

For example, three-time champion Tiger Woods, the greatest player of his generation and winner of 15 major championships, missed the cut after Friday’s second-round three-over-par 73 left him with a 36-hole score of seven-over 147.

“Just one more event,’’ Woods said about next month’s Open Championship. “Then I’ll come back whenever I come back.

“As far as my last Open Championship or U.S. Open Championship, I don’t know what that is. It may or may not be.’’

Woods, 48, has missed the cut four times in his past five starts in the U.S. Open. He has missed the cut or withdrew in five of his past six major championship starts.

On the flip side, 24-year-old Ludvig Aberg, a Swedish ball-striking machine, shot a second-round one-under 69 to take a one-shot lead over Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Cantlay, and Thomas Detry.

Aberg is playing his first U.S. Open, although it’s not his first time on Pinehurst No. 2. He lost in the second round of the U.S. Amateur

“I remember it was one of my first experiences coming over and playing a really hard golf course in America,’’ Aberg said. “ I was like, ‘Is this what golf in America is like?’’ Luckily, it’s not like this every week.

“I think, obviously, this being my first one, I think a U.S. Open is supposed to be hard. It’s supposed to be tricky, and it’s supposed to challenge any aspect of your game. And I feel like it’s really doing that. But super fortunate with the way that things have turned out over the last couple of days, and hopefully, we’ll be able to keep it up.’’

In addition to Woods, Donald Ross’s masterpiece in the Carolina sandhills dismissed such well-known players as Max Homa, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, and Justin Thomas.

Scottie Scheffler, the world’s No. 1 player who came into Pinehurst as the overwhelming favorite, shot a second-round 74 to go into today at five-over-par 145 – tied for 57th.

Rory Looks to Take Charge After Day 1

Rory McIlroy is exactly where he wants to be going into Friday’s second round of the U.S. Open on Pinehurst No. 2 – tied for the lad and in the spotlight. The Irish star’s 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole gave a five-under-par 65 on Donald Ross’s masterpiece and left him tied with Patrick Cantlay for the first-round lead in the 156-player field.

Bryson DeChambeau and Matthieu Pavon of France each are two back after the 67s. Akshay Bhatia, Tony Finau and Tyrrell Hatton each were another stroke back. Bhatia, who lives in Raleigh, N.C., less than two hours from Pinehurst, is looking to become the first southpaw to win a U.S. Open.

McIlroy, meanwhile, is looking to win his second U.S. Open. He won in 2011 at Congressional – the first of four major championships. McIlroy finished one stroke behind Wyndham Clark in the ’23 U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club.

“My approach at the U.S. Opens over the last few years have — I guess I’ve had some success by the sort of mindset that I’ve brought in, especially last year at LACC. The golf course is a little different to what it was last year, but still the same strategy, same mindset,” Mcilroy said. “Just trying to hit it into the middles of greens and giving yourself chances every single time, taking your medicine if you do hit it into trouble.

“My short game was good early on. I chipped in at 5 and had a really good up-and-down on 6 and another really good up-and-down on 8. But apart from that, I think I hit every other green. It was a really controlled round of golf.

While Pinehurst No. 2, with it wire grass and crowned greens, frustrates many players, at least early on it seems to fit McIlroy’s playing style and imagination.

“It sort of brings me back to links golf when I was a kid a little bit. The greens are a bit more sort of slopy and there’s a bit more movement on them. But there are options. You can chip it. You can putt it. I’d love if we played more golf courses like this.

 

 

US Open Pre-Tournament Notes

Jon Rahm is out with a foot injury; defending champion Wyndham Clark dared to question the famous greens of Pinehurst No. 2; and Tiger Woods still thinks he can compete on Donald Ross’s masterpiece at Pinehurst (N.C). Resort.

Other than those things, what else is happening the day before the U.S. Open returns to Pinehurst for the first time since 2014?

Let’s start with Rahm, the 2022 U.S. Open champion, who withdrew yesterday, citing a foot infection.

“After consulting with numerous doctors and my team, I have decided it is best for my long-term health to withdraw from this week’s US Open Championship,” Rahm, the 2022 U.S. Open champion, wrote on his X account. “To say I’m disappointed is a massive understatement! I wish all my peers the best of luck and want to thank the USGA staff, volunteers and community of Pinehurst for hosting and putting on what I’m sure will be an amazing championship! Hopefully, I’ll be back in action sooner than later!”

Clark, who won the only major of his career last year at Los Angeles Country Club, called Pinehurst No. 2’s greens  “extremely fast.’’

“If they get any firmer and faster, the greens, I mean, they’d be borderline. They already are borderline,’’ Clark said. “You have to play a lot of break on these greens. When we’re hitting lag putts and short putts, you have a 10-footer downhill, down-grain. Normally, you’re not more than four or five inches outside the cup on most greens. Here, you’re maybe playing 10 to 12 inches so you’re not getting below the hole and having it run away. It’s really a lot of practice.’’

Woods, who accepted the USGA’s Bob Jones Award last night, is gunning for his fourth U.S. Open title and his first at Pinehurst. He last won the U.S. Open in 2008 at Torrey Pines in San Diego and finished second to Michael Campbell at the 2005 U.S. on Pinehurst No. 2.

“I love U.S. Opens,’’ Woods said. “I love the tests of U.S. Opens. I’ve had some success here – back in ‘99 (third) and 2005. So I’m looking forward to this week.’’

Age and injuries have made him a different player than he was in ‘99 and 2005, but Woods, as he has at the beginning of nearly every major, says all the right things about believing that at age 48, he can still capture his 16th major championship.

“I feel like I have the strength to do it,’’ Woods said with a smile. “It’s just a matter of doing it. This golf course is going to test every single aspect of your game, especially mentally. The mental discipline it takes to play this golf course…. It’s going to take a lot.’’

Adam Scott Added to US Open Field

Two additional players, including Adam Scott, have earned full exemptions into the 124th U.S. Open Championship, to be contested June 13-16 at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 2, bringing the number of fully exempt players to 84. Four alternates from final qualifying were added to complete the 156-player field.

Robert MacIntyre earned an exemption based on the current Official World Golf Ranking®/OWGR®. MacIntyre, of Scotland, who is No. 41 in the OWGR, is playing in his third U.S. Open. The 27-year-old left-hander recorded his first PGA Tour victory by winning the RBC Canadian Open with a 72-hole score of 264 (16 under) on June 2. He has four top-10 finishes this season, including eighth in the PGA Championship.

Scott, No. 61 in the OWGR, became exempt when the late Grayson Murray (No. 59) was removed from the list to determine the top 60. Scott will compete in his 23rd consecutive U.S. Open, with his best finish a tie for fourth in 2015 at Chambers Bay. He has played in two U.S. Opens at Pinehurst – tied for 28th in 2005 and tied for ninth in 2014. Scott, who also advanced through final qualifying six years ago, has won on five professional tours, and his 14 PGA Tour victories include the 2013 Masters and the 2004 Players Championship. Scott will be competing in his 92nd straight major championship.

The USGA held six spots in the field for those players who could potentially become exempt. Since MacIntyre and Scott were the only players to earn an exemption, four alternates from final qualifying were added to the field. They are Sergio Garcia, amateur Brendan Valdes, Otto Black and Maxwell Moldovan.

Photos courtesy of Alan Darty

usopen.com

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<a href="https://golfonemedia.com/author/steve_pike/" target="_self">Steve Pike</a>

Steve Pike

Steve “Spike” Pike is a lifelong journalist whose career covers Major League Baseball, the NFL, and college basketball. For the past 26 years, Spike has been one of the more respected voices in the golf and travel industries, working for such publications as Golfweek, Golf World, and Golf Digest for The New York Times Magazine Group. In 1998, Spike helped launch the PGA.com website for the PGA of America. As a freelance travel and golf writer, Spike’s travels have taken him around the world. He has played golf from Pebble Beach to St. Andrews, walked the Great Wall of China, climbed an active volcano in the Canary Islands, been on safari in South Africa, and dived with sharks off Guadalupe, Baja California.