US Open: Heartbreak for Rory McIlroy as Bryson DeChambeau claims title at Pinehurst

McIlroy misses two short putts in the last three holes as DeChambeau’s bunker save on 18 hands him the crown

Rory McIlroy reacts after dramatically missing out on the US Open to Bryson DeChambeau at Pinehurst Resort. Photograph: Getty Images

The Scientist found the magic formula, even if Bryson DeChambeau’s win in the 124th US Open – where a final round 71 for 274, six-under-par 274 gave him a one stroke winning margin over Rory McIlroy – was helped in no small part by his nearest rival’s failings.

McIlroy had the title, seeking to end a 10-year drought in the Majors, in his hands. Only to let it slip, allowing a two stroke lead with five holes to go to drip, drip away. Three bogeys in McIlroy’s final five holes, including two missed par putts in the last three holes, left his dream of a fifth career Major title in ruins.

Rory McIlroy choked at the US Open and he has nobody to blame but himselfOpens in new window ]

For McIlroy, the demons continue after failing to close a deal that had looked rubber stamped after an enthralling charge that ignited - only to be doused.

A closing 69 for 275 saw McIlroy relegated to a runner-up finish for the second straight year.


DeChambeau had started with a three stroke lead over McIlroy, Tony Finau and Matthieu Pavon but was left playing catch up until he wasn’t at the end.

McIlroy’s charge materialised around the turn, as a surge of four birdies in a five hole stretch kick-started by a 15 footer on the ninth, which saw him turn in 34 strokes. Five under par at that time, he trailed DeChambeau by one. Then, he caught fire, turning the chase into a battle royale, a duel for the ages, the pity being that the rivalry was played out in different pairings.

How good would it have been for the two to see the whites of each other’s eyes?

But DeChambeau knew what was happening ahead. The roars, louder each time, resounded back to The Scientist.

On the 10th, McIlroy rolled in a 26-footer for birdie. On the 12th, he sank a 22-footer for birdie to move to seven under and to tie the lead with the American.

When DeChambeau bogeyed the 12th – after driving into the waste area down the right – he fell two behind McIlroy, who drove over the back of the green on the driveable par four 13th and chipped back to five feet to move to eight under. The drama played out, gripping. And DeChambeau’s three wood found the heart of the 13th only for his eagle putt to pull up short. A tap-in birdie brought him one back.

Then, McIlroy’s first bogey since the fifth brought a speed bump. His seven-iron tee shot on the par-three 15th kicked over the back of the green into a waste area. Impossible, even for him. He chipped to 32 feet, and missed the par putt to drop back to seven under. Tied with DeChambeau again.

Rory McIlroy missed two close range par puts in the closing three holes. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Then, unexpected help for McIlroy. DeChambeau had avoided a three putt for the entirety of the championship and hit his tee shot on 15 to 26 feet. He ran the birdie putt four feet by. And missed the par putt back. A bogey from nowhere dropped him back to six under, and handed McIlroy the advantage again. One stroke ahead.

On the 16th, McIlroy returned the compliment, missing from two and a half feet, his first miss inside five feet all tournament, for a bogey. A three putt bogey. Level again.

DeChambeau watched from back down the fairway, inhaling deeply, ready for the fight.

McIlroy cracked first. Again, the putter deserted him. After driving into the waste area down the left, his ball nestled into wire grass, McIlroy’s recovery came up short. He pitched to three feet nine inches. And missed the putt. A bogey, which left DeChambeau – in trouble himself down the left in the waste area – one stroke ahead.

But DeChambeau, his ball inches from a tree root and impeded by tree branches, could only scuttle the ball forward . . . . and into a bunker, 30 yards short of the hole. He played a shot for the ages, to four feet, his fist pumps into the thin air greeted with roars from the crowds.

The man with B.A.D. on his yardage book in his back pocket finished the job by rolling in the par putt to win by one stroke from McIlroy. The man from LIV had come in from the cold for a second US Open win, four years after his Winged Foot success.

Shane Lowry was a beaten man, mentally battered, after his travails in the Memorial last week where he closed with a career-high 85. Roll on a week, and he showed his resilience: a closing round 69 for 284, four over, saw him finish in tied-19th while Tom McKibbin, playing in a first career Major, shot a closing 72 for 288 in tied-41st alongside world number one Scottie Scheffler.

Philip Reid

Philip Reid

Philip Reid is Golf Correspondent of The Irish Times