Bryson DeChambeau wins U.S. Open after Rory McIlroy’s late collapse

Bryson DeChambeau celebrates a putt at the U.S. Open.

Bryson DeChambeau sealed his second U.S. Open victory with a clutch par save on the 72nd hole after Rory McIlroy's collapse 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 grandstands on 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, which included two short misses for par on both the 16th and 18th — heartbreaking blows that allowed DeChambeau to win his second major of his career.

Playing in the pairing ahead of DeChambeau, McIlroy’s final’s hiccup was the most devastating. He was tied with DeChambeau at six under, but McIlroy lipped out a putt from 3 feet, 9 inches to make bogey on the 72nd hole. DeChambeau got up and down from the bunker to make his par and win by one.

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

On 18, DeChambeau pulled his tee shot and drew an awkward lie in the sandy area and hacked out into a bunker 55 yards short of the pin. And, similar to what Payne Stewart did 25 years ago at the first U.S. Open at Pinehurst, DeChambeau made the decisive up-and-down to win.

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

“That’s Payne right there, baby,” he shouted not long after he holed the final putt, pointing to a patch on his hat.

Earlier in his career, DeChambeau donned a flat cap-style hat similar to one Stewart, who tragically passed away four months after his dramatic 1999 U.S. Open victory, wore throughout his playing days. DeChambeau wore one again during the trophy shot.

It’s DeChambeau’s second U.S. Open title and second major overall, but first since he left the PGA Tour for LIV Golf in 2022. He’s now the second LIV golfer to win a major championship, joining Brooks Koepka at the 2023 PGA Championship.

DeChambeau has been on a tear in the majors this year, finishing T6 at the Masters before a runner-up showing at the PGA last month.

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“I don’t know what to think. It fully hasn’t sunk in yet,” DeChambeau said. “I just want everybody to enjoy it, as well. As much as it is heartbreaking for some people, it was heartbreak for me at the PGA. I really wanted this one.”

DeChambeau, however, has admitted he’s a very different person than the one who triumphed at Winged Foot four years ago, a U.S. Open played without fans and in September due to the pandemic. It was the fans who the 30-year-old got his energy from this week, easily becoming the crowd favorite by focusing on entertaining while competing.

That was on display all week with his fiery and emotional demeanor on the course through his celebrations. He even talked to fans and signed autographs during tournament play, almost unheard of in the sport.

“It’s direct conversations to people that truly engage with what I’m doing. It’s such an awesome, awesome platform for me to show who I truly am,” DeChambeau said. “Those fans out there really helped push me out there today. Even when stuff wasn’t going well, I’m just looking on the screen back there, I have nothing there, no business even trying to go for that. But you know me; I don’t play boring golf.”

His play certainly was not boring. After dazzling off the tee all week with gargantuan drives, DeChambeau struggled off the tee Sunday. He was seen tweaking his driver just minutes before he teed off for the final round and admitted he changed driver heads.

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

But it was his short game that shined Sunday, getting up and down around Pinehurst No. 2’s tricky domed greens 5 of 7 times, including the crucial one on the 72nd hole.

That was necessitated because DeChambeau hit his worst drive of the week, pulling it left into the sandy area. His ball was clear of any big clumps of wire 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 grandstand but was denied.

“I was actually concerned I might hurt myself getting out of that. I was trying to get TIO relief, but didn’t have anything in my way, unfortunately,” he said. “I was trying to run it left of that bunker, run it up the green, give myself a two-putt. I had no backswing. At a certain point in time, I’m just like, okay, I have to hack it; hopefully it will go down the line, but it didn’t.”

After addressing the shot multiple times trying to feel out a backswing, he finally hacked out, punching his ball into the bunker. From there he blasted out of the sand with a 55-degree wedge, landing his ball 40 feet short of the pin and kicking forward off a downslope and releasing toward the hole before stopping 4 feet from the hole, setting up the decisive putt.

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On the other end of the spectrum, McIlroy continued his struggles at winning majors. He’s recorded 21 top-10s in majors since his last victory, more than anyone in that time, but hasn’t been able 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 lapped that day by Cam Smith. This was collapse. When McIlroy birdied the 13th, he led DeChambeau by two, then he missed the green long on 15, leading to a bogey.

On the massive par-4 16th, he found the heart of the green, but three-putted, brutally missing a two-foot-six-inch par putt as it power-lipped on the left side. It was his first miss from inside three feet on the PGA Tour all season. He was 496 for 496 before then.

He got up and down out of the bunker on 17 and looked to have at least secured a spot in a playoff when he pitched from short of the green on 18 to 4 feet. He jabbed the stroke and the putt slid low.

McIlroy declined to speak to the media after the round and his plane was reportedly in the air by 7:29 p.m., just 53 minutes after DeChambeau holed the winning putt.

“Rory is one of the best to ever play,” DeChambeau said. “Being able to fight against a great like that is pretty special. For him to miss that putt, I’d never wish it on anybody. It just happened to play out that way.”

Jack Hirsh Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at



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