124th U.S. Open: 3 Things to Know, Round 4

By Ron Driscoll, USGA

| Jun 15, 2024 | Village of Pinehurst, N.C.

124th U.S. Open: 3 Things to Know, Round 4

The stage is set for a rollicking finish in the 124th U.S. Open, with a leader board that features the most international flavor in history entering the final round. There are players from a record eight countries (USA, France, Northern Ireland, Japan, Sweden, England, Korea and Canada) among the top 10 and ties after 54 holes. The previous high was seven, most recently in 2015.

Two-time major champion Collin Morikawa made one of the biggest leaps on the traditional Saturday “moving day” with a bogey-free round of 4-under-par 66, moving from a tie for 51st into a tie for ninth at even-par 210. That round of 66 was Morikawa’s ninth of 66 or better in his major-championship career, all since 2020. Morikawa has good company in that category. Over the past five years, just one player (Viktor Hovland) can match him with nine rounds of 66 or better, while Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are next with eight such rounds apiece. Is there another 66 or better out there in Round 4 at Pinehurst?

Here are 3 Things to Know heading into the final round:


Nine of the last 10 U.S. Opens have been won by a player who was among the top two on the leader board at the end of Round 3. The exception over the past decade is Jon Rahm, who was T-6 after 54 holes at Torrey Pines in 2021, three strokes behind a trio of leaders (Russell Henley, Louis Oosthuizen and Mackenzie Hughes). Interestingly, in that U.S. Open, Rory McIlroy and Bryson DeChambeau were tied for fourth, two strokes back after Round 3, but McIlroy shot 73 to finish T-7, and DeChambeau plummeted to a tie for 26th with a final-round 77. Rahm edged Oosthuizen by one stroke with back-to-back closing birdies for a 4-under 67.

Speaking of McIlroy, he enters Round 4 inside the top 10 for the sixth consecutive year. It’s the longest such streak since Ben Hogan did it 12 times in a row, from 1940 through 1956 (with a four-year hiatus due to World War II). Five other golfers have had a streak of six or more times in a row in the top 10 entering Round 4: Walter Hagen (10, 1919-1928), Willie Anderson (9, 1898-1906), Gil Nicholls (8, 1904-1911), Bob Jones (7, 1920-1926) and Stewart Gardner (7, 1900-1906).

As he seeks to win his fifth major title and end a 10-year drought, McIlroy has improved in each of previous five editions: from a tie for 9th in 2019 at Pebble Beach; to a tie for 8th in 2020 at Winged Foot ; to a tie for 7th in 2021 at Torrey Pines; to a tie for fifth in 2022 at The Country Club, to 2nd place last year at The Los Angeles Country Club. A victory would complete that upward progression.

War of Attrition

Over the past five U.S. Opens, including this week at Pinehurst, the number of players under par has never increased between Round 1 and any subsequent round, and in only three instances has that total of under-par players stayed the same. This was one of those years, with 15 players under par after Round 1 and the same number after Round 2. After Round 3 on Saturday, the number of players under the 54-hole par of 210 dropped to eight.

In 2020 at Winged Foot, 21 players posted under-par scores in Round 1, but the number of players under par dwindled to six after Round 2 and to three after Round 3, with champion Bryson DeChambeau the lone player under par by the end.

Other totals since then by round: in 2021 at Torrey Pines, it went from 23 to 13 to 13 to 12; in 2022 at The Country Club, the total of under-par players went from 25 to 23 to 9 and ended with 9; in 2023 at The Los Angeles Country Club, it went from 37 to 29 to 19 to 18.

It seems unlikely, based on recent history, that there will be eight or more players under par by the end of Round 4 on Sunday.

Amateurs Face Off

Luke Clanton, a rising junior at Florida State University, shot his second consecutive round of 1-under-par 69 in Round 3 on Saturday, making him the first amateur in U.S. Open history with back-to-back rounds in the 60s. Jordan Spieth shot 69-70 on the weekend in the 2012 U.S. Open at The Olympic Club to finish T-21.

Clanton and 2023 U.S. Amateur runner-up Neal Shipley, who recently completed his eligibility at Ohio State University, are deadlocked at 4-over-par 214 through 54 holes as they vie for the medal that signifies the championship’s low amateur. Shipley joined Clanton at that total with a round of 71 on Saturday. The two, who are among a group of seven golfers in a tie for 25th place, will play together in Round 4, beginning at 12:04 p.m. EDT. Gunnar Broin, the only other amateur among the 16 who started the championship to make the 36-hole cut, trails the pair by 10 strokes entering Round 4.

Shipley is seeking to become the first golfer to win low-amateur honors in the U.S. Open and the Masters in the same year since Viktor Hovland, who in 2019 shot even-par 284 at Pebble Beach to finish in a tie for 12th, after finishing in a tie for 32nd in the Masters. Shipley tied for 53rd in April at Augusta National.

Ron Driscoll is the senior manager of editorial services for the USGA. Email him at rdriscoll@usga.org.