DeChambeau (67) Surges Into 54-Hole Lead at Pinehurst

By David Shefter, USGA

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

DeChambeau (67) Surges Into 54-Hole Lead at Pinehurst

In the same way that Donald Ross’ inverted-saucer greens at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 2 are known to repel golf shots, so went many of the third-round challengers at the 124th U.S. Open on a steamy Saturday in the North Carolina Sandhills.

A day that began with 14 players within four strokes of Ludvig Åberg’s 36-hole lead ended with Bryson DeChambeau seizing a three-stroke advantage going into Sunday’s final round. The 2020 champion was one of only three players in the last five pairings to better par, using an impeccable display of shot-making – and putting in particular – to card a 3-under-par 67 for a 54-hole total of 7-under 203.

DeChambeau, the runner-up in last month’s PGA Championship, registered 11 one-putt greens as he distanced himself from 2011 champion Rory McIlroy, eight-time PGA Tour winner Patrick Cantlay and up-and-coming Frenchman Matthieu Pavon, all of whom sit at 4-under 206.

Only Pavon, winner of the 2024 Farmers Insurance Open at two-time U.S. Open venue Torrey Pines, and McIlroy, who is seeking to end a 10-year major-victory drought, broke par among those last groups, each shooting 69.

Temperatures on Saturday once again reached the 90s with weather warnings posted to tell players, fans and officials to stay hydrated.

Pavon will be paired with DeChambeau in Sunday’s final pairing, while Cantlay and McIlroy will be in the penultimate twosome. The chasers will look for some Sunday magic to catch the overpowering DeChambeau, who seems to be getting stronger with each tour around Pinehurst.

For U.S. Open rookie Åberg, the 24-year-old Swede who had led the field in fairways hit and greens in regulation through 36 holes, it was a difficult afternoon. A triple-bogey 7 on the 368-yard 13th – the same hole that saw contender Tony Finau also make a 7 – sent the world’s No. 6 player tumbling down the leader board. He still managed a 3-over 73, but now sits five strokes behind in his quest to become the first player since Francis Ouimet in 1913 to win the U.S. Open in his debut.

Finau got to 5 under for the day until his hiccup on 13 and shares seventh with England’s Tyrrell Hatton (even-par 70) after carding a 72.

It was another challenging day at Pinehurst in which the field scoring average was 73.2, just slightly behind the first-round number of 73.25.

DeChambeau, a 30-year-old native Northern Californian who lives in Grapevine, Texas, not far from where he played his collegiate golf at Southern Methodist University, led the field on Saturday with just 25 putts, was second in driving distance (344.1) and fourth in strokes gained off the tee (+1.66). Even a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 16th hole did little to sidetrack him as he followed by knocking his tee shot on the 180-yard 17th hole to 12 feet to set up his sixth birdie of the day. It was the kind of performance people saw from DeChambeau four years ago when he won this championship at Winged Foot Golf Club by six strokes and was the lone competitor to better par on what is considered one of the country’s most difficult layouts.

2011 U.S. Open champ Rory McIlroy stayed in contention to win his first major in 10 years with a third-round 69 on Saturday. (USGA/Kathryn Riley)

2011 U.S. Open champ Rory McIlroy stayed in contention to win his first major in 10 years with a third-round 69 on Saturday. (USGA/Kathryn Riley)

Now he has a chance to become the second SMU graduate to win a U.S. Open at Pinehurst, joining the late Payne Stewart in 1999.

Endearing himself to the huge galleries that have flocked to Pinehurst this week, DeChambeau battled a nagging hip issue to give his supporters plenty to cheer about with an array of shot-making, from exquisite up-and-down pars on the first two holes, to his approach shot from the native area on No. 14 to 6 feet. That’s the kind of year DeChambeau has had in majors. He contended into Sunday at the Masters before tying for sixth and then came up one stroke shy of Xander Schauffele at the PGA Championship in May, shooting 20 under par.

“It just gives me a spike in my adrenaline and allows me to focus more on delivering for the fans and for myself and for my family. It just inspires me,” said DeChambeau of hearing the roars and chants of “USA, USA!”

He added: “Just thinking back three years ago, the landscape [of professional golf] was a lot different. I tried to show everybody who I was. I didn't do it the right way and could have done a lot of things better. I'm lucky enough to have a great team around me to help me move in the right direction with the content that we're producing, social media, and then also just a great perspective on life. Those combinations of things have allowed me to not only have a new perspective but an opportunity to show myself in a different light and to entertain the fans out there on the golf course.”

On Sunday, he’ll carry the lead into a final round of a U.S. Open for the first time. In 2020, he trailed Matthew Wolff by two strokes, then bested the former Oklahoma State star by eight strokes on Sunday (67-75).

McIlroy once again is lurking on a major-championship Sunday. A year ago, he finished a stroke back of Wyndham Clark at The Los Angeles Country Club. He had a golden shot at St. Andrews in 2022, only to shoot a final-round 70 to Cameron Smith’s 64 and finish solo third. He got to 6 under par for the championship on Sunday with a dart on No. 14 to 3 feet, but he failed to get up and down from greenside bunkers on 15 and 17 as DeChambeau was charging ahead.

“No matter what happens, I feel like two shots, three shots, four shots, I've got a great chance going into tomorrow,” said McIlroy, who rallied on Sunday to win the Wells Fargo Championship this spring. “I love the test that Pinehurst is presenting, and you've got to focus and concentrate on every single shot out there. It's what a U.S. Open should be like. It's obviously great to be in the mix.”

Patrick Cantlay grinded out a 70 on Saturday to stay within striking distance of 54-hole leader Bryson DeChambeau. (USGA/Jeff Haynes)

Patrick Cantlay grinded out a 70 on Saturday to stay within striking distance of 54-hole leader Bryson DeChambeau. (USGA/Jeff Haynes)

Pavon and Cantlay both are seeking their first major titles, although many expected the latter to have one by now. He’s a two-time U.S. Ryder Cup performer who only has four top-10s in 29 major starts with his best U.S. Open finish being a share of 14th in 2022 and ’23.

Pavon, who carded a 3-under 32 on Pinehurst’s outward nine before coming home in 37, has kept himself in contention with his consistency off the tee (11 of 14 fairways hit) and strokes-gained approach (+2.56 to rank third). But he’s in unchartered territory on Sunday playing in the final group of a major.

“Nothing special. I just love golf,” said Pavon. “That's the thing. I'm just so happy to compete here in America. It has been a remarkable journey for me.

“I just love competing here so much, and this is what I like people to know about me. I'm a pretty regular guy, and it's just awesome to be here and having a chance to share the last round in a major in the last group with a guy like Bryson.”

Cantlay didn’t have the fireworks of DeChambeau or McIlroy on Saturday, but two birdies against two bogeys were good enough to keep the former UCLA All-American in contention. Can he put together a magical final round on Sunday to finally claim that elusive major title?

We’ll find out around 7 p.m. on Sunday.

What’s Next

Sunday’s final round will begin at 7:30 a.m. EDT with the final pairing of Bryson DeChambeau and Matthieu Pavon going off at 2:21 p.m. Should there be a tie after 72 holes, a two-hole aggregate playoff on Nos. 17 and 18 would take place immediately following play. Broadcast coverage commences at 9 a.m. on USA Network and continues at noon on NBC.

Matthieu Pavon finds himself in a final pairing at a major championship for the first time after a third-round 69. (USGA/Mike Ehrmann)

Matthieu Pavon finds himself in a final pairing at a major championship for the first time after a third-round 69. (USGA/Mike Ehrmann)


  • Of the 74 players who made the cut, 27 were qualifiers, including past major champions Sergio Garcia and Francesco Molinari. Only amateur Gunnar Broin managed to survive both local and final qualifying and make the cut. Broin caddies at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn., site of this year’s U.S. Amateur, where he’ll tee it up as an exempt player.

  • Two-time major champion Collin Morikawa moved from a share of 51st to a share of ninth with his 4-under-par 66. He also produced the fourth bogey-free round of the championship. Coming into the week, only five players had gone bogey-free in a single round over the first three U.S. Opens at Pinehurst No. 2. It was Morikawa’s first bogey-free round in 21 U.S. Open rounds.

  • Making the cut was huge for qualifier David Puig. By advancing to the weekend, the 22-year-old former Arizona State University All-American earned the second and final spot on Spain’s Olympic team that will compete in Paris. He will be joined by 2021 U.S. Open champion Jon Rahm, who withdrew from this year’s U.S. Open on Tuesday with a foot injury.

  • The longest birdie-less streak of world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler’s professional career ended at 26 holes on Saturday when he rolled in a 17-footer on the par-4 eighth hole. He had not made a birdie since the par-3 17th in Round 1. His birdie-less round on Friday was only his second since turning pro (2022 Charles Schwab Challenge, final round).

  • Florida State University All-American Luke Clanton became the first amateur in U.S. Open history to post consecutive rounds in the 60s. The 2022 North & South Amateur champion at Pinehurst carded another 69 on Saturday to go with his Friday 69 to sit at 4-over 214. The No. 5 player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking® and 2023 U.S. Amateur runner-up Neal Shipley are currently tied for low-amateur honors.

  • The tee was moved up on the dogleg-right third hole to make it drivable at 316 yards. Correy Conners, of Canada, took full advantage by hitting his tee shot to 6 feet for the week’s only eagle to date on a par 4. Two aces were registered on the par-3 ninth hole on Saturday.  


“It was tougher to get through on a couple shots. It's okay. I've had it for a long time now. It's just something that popped up. The two weeks I had off after PGA, 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 horse a bit. Consequently, that's going to happen. But I've got a great team around me to help fix some stuff up.” – Bryson DeChambeau on his hip issue

“Amazing. Made a lot of great putts today. I'll tell you that. Pleased with how I struck it for the most part. Got to work on that just a little bit, but I feel pretty confident over the tee shots. Just going to say it, tomorrow it's the same quote I've said all week: 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.” -- DeChambeau

“I'm excited about it. It would have been nice to hole that putt at the last and get to 5 under and break out of that logjam at 4 [under]. Pros and cons to being in the last group, and maybe playing one group ahead might not necessarily be a bad thing. I'm pretty much in the same position that I was last year going into the final day at LACC. So familiar position, been here many times before, and hopefully tomorrow I produce the golf that's needed to go one better.” – Rory McIlroy

“I felt like basically the whole day wasn't as sharp as it was yesterday. I didn't feel like I executed the shots the way I wanted to. It's just one of them days that the environment, the situation, I guess the golf course kind of bites back. It is what it is. Hopefully we'll be out tomorrow and shoot a good score.” – Ludvig Åberg

“Very hard. My 4-under [66] could have easily been the other way. When you play really smart golf out here, I wouldn't say it's rewarding, but you have to be able to put it in the right spots and take advantage when you do. Today … I made the putts that I needed to. Made up and downs. Made everything essentially. That's the only way you're going to score out here.” – Collin Morikawa after the fourth bogey-free round of the championship

David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at dshefter@usga.org.