2024 U.S. Open leaderboard: Bryson DeChambeau wins second major after grueling battle with Rory McIlroy (2024)

It was pure entertainment Sunday at Pinehurst No. 2, so it was only appropriate that the greatest showman in golf ultimately prevailed. Bryson DeChambeau would not have wanted it any differently as he scratched and clawed his way to a second U.S. Open title sealing his one-stroke victory over a charging Rory McIlroy with a dramatic par save on the 72nd hole.

DeChambeau's triumph in the 2024 U.S. Open -- the 1,000th event hosted by the USGA -- pulled him alongside the likes of Walter Hagen, Lee Trevino and Brooks Koepka with two U.S. Open victories and solidifies the 30-year-old American as one of the best active players in the world. It was also a crowning achievement for what has been a successful major season following a runner-up finish at the PGA Championship and T6 at the Masters over the last two months.

Putting this tournament in a stranglehold late Saturday, DeChambeau entered the final round in Pinehurst, North Carolina, with a three-shot lead. He arrived at the first tee to chants of "U-S-A, U-S-A" and took a long gander at the trophy knowing it could possibly come home with him.

Five hours later, DeChambeau stood underneath a drooping tree branch on the 18th hole with his ball nestled near a root. He had to decide how to proceed with his second shot and realized there was no good choice to make. Ultimately, his ball found its way into a bunker 55 yards from the hole. DeChambeau somehow managed to wedge out to just 4 feet, sending a jolt of electricity into the Pinehurst crowd and all but clinching his second national championship in five years.

"That will probably be the highlight of my life," said DeChambeau, who finished at 6 under. "I still can't believe it. It's unbelievable."

Despite entering with that three-shot margin, a stress-free stroll to the winner's circle never came to fruition. DeChambeau struggled off the tee as he put a new driver head in the bag after flattening the face of his old one during his warmup. Missing three of his first five fairways when pulling the driver, he went the other way as McIlroy made his move.

In the group ahead, McIlroy treaded water early before making his presence known around the turn by converting four birdies over a five-hole stretch to snatch the lead from DeChambeau's grasp. McIlroy moved to 8 under when he made birdie on the short par-4 13th, jumping ahead two shots on DeChambeau, who dropped a shot on No. 12 after carding his first birdie of the day on the par-5 10th. It was a five-stroke swing from where the pair entered the final round.

DeChambeau halved his deficit with a birdie on the 13th and pulled even with McIlroy when the Northern Irishman made his first bogey of the back nine on the tricky par-3 15th. The big-hitting right hander found the surface himself but needed three putts from 25 feet and dropped another shot that set off a chain of strange putting over the last hour of the championship.

"I felt like I was hitting the driver pretty well today, it just wasn't starting exactly where I wanted it to," DeChambeau said. "Ultimately, on 13, I knew I needed to make birdie there to give myself a chance because Rory was going on a heater."

McIlroy missed from 2 feet, 6 inches on the 16th, returning to a 6-under tie with DeChambeau as only a few holes remained. They remained knotted until the par-4 18th when McIlroy pitched his third shot to just inside 4 feet. However, just as he did two holes earlier, McIlroy missed a makable putt in agonizing fashion.

"[McIlroy] slipped up a couple on the way coming in, and I just kept staying the course, focused on trying to hit as many fairways as I could -- even though I didn't, I was not great today with that -- I got out of trouble really well," DeChambeau explained. "And then, man, I can't believe that up and down. That was probably the best shot of my life."

This opened the door for DeChambeau, who eventually found a way to walk through it despite his making his 72nd hole of the tournament more difficult than it needed to be.

Leaning into his stardom, DeChambeau never relented as he made sure to express to the fans and his team how he felt throughout this championship. Barking after his tee shots, chatting with crowds, slapping hands with fans between holes and walking after laced approaches, the 2024 national champion wore his heart on his sleeve all week.

It was reciprocated, embraced and celebrated by the Pinehurst patrons as DeChambeau paraded the trophy around the 18th fairway allowing fans to grab a piece of what he believed they accomplished together.

"I just can't thank you guys enough for all the support this week," he said of the fan support. "You guys have meant the world to me. You are the best fans in the world, and I cannot thank you enough. What a group of people."

2024 U.S. Open leaderboard breakdown

2. Rory McIlroy (-5): How does McIlroy possibly recover from this (latest) major heartbreak? He was cruising through the front nine and hit the nitros around the turn with four birdies from Nos. 9-13 to reach 8 under. McIlroy opened up a two-stroke lead with five holes to play, but poor decision making off the tee on No. 15 and some hard-to-watch putting on the 16th and 18th prolonged his decade-long major drought. McIlroy had made all 496 of his putts inside 3 feet this season before his miss on the par-4 16th, according toJustin Ray.

T3. Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau (-4): A couple players who have been somewhat disappointing in majors over recent years put together great weeks. Finau shot himself out of this tournament with a triple bogey on Saturday, but he made some noise playing his last 14 holes in 5 under. Meanwhile, Cantlay -- even without his best stuff -- hovered and hovered making this two-man sprint a three-horse race for most of the day. Too many mistakes on his card proved to be his undoing especially the pair of back-nine blunders. "I played well," Cantlay said. "Looking forward to having more opportunities. This is exactly why I play. It was good to be in contention. Obviously I would have liked to get the job done. Just a bit short this time."

5. Matthieu Pavon (-3)
6. Hideki Matsuyama (-2)
T7. Xander Schauffele, Russell Henley (-1)
T9. Sam Burns, Davis Thompson, Corey Conners (E)

T12. Ludvig Åberg, Sergio Garcia (+1):Åberg, the 36-hole leader, turned into a different golfer over the weekend as the precision and accuracy which led him to the top of the leaderboard abandoned him ever so slightly. He carded four bogeys and an ugly triple bogey in his final round to fall on the wrong side of even par, but his week as a whole was not lost. In just his third major championship, the young Swede contended for the second time and added valuable experience to his belt.

"I guess the thing is it doesn't really get harder than this, and it's quite nice to know that -- what's needed to perform on this level, on this difficult level in terms of the golf course," Åberg said. "Although I'm experiencing these things for the first time, I'm still enjoying it, learning from them and obviously wanting to do well."

Rick Gehman, Patrick McDonald, Greg DuCharme recap the 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2. Follow & listen to The First Cut onApple PodcastsandSpotify.

2024 U.S. Open leaderboard: Bryson DeChambeau wins second major after grueling battle with Rory McIlroy (2024)
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