US Open 2024: Bryson DeChambeau is anything but boring as he takes control

PINEHURST, NC – When Bryson DeChambeau entered the 13th Green Saturday night at Pinehurst No. 2, he was greeted with thunderous applause and illuminated by the setting sun.

Some call this time the golden hour.

To DeChambeau, it probably felt like an hour.

DeChambeau had just taken the flag from a fairway bunker, holding his 149-yard approach to six feet, and was on the verge of seizing full control of this 124th US Open. Meanwhile, DeChambeau’s playing rival, Ludvig Åberg, was making a mess of the short par 4pulling his drive into the left waste area, coming up just short of the green with his approach and sending each of his next two shots through the green.

As Åberg scored shot after shot, eventually carding a triple bogey, DeChambeau waited.

And waited.

And waited.

“It was one of the hardest putts I’ve had, so for me it’s just looking at it, being focused and staying focused for 10 minutes,” DeChambeau said. “Look, for the most part I was just trying to walk around and keep my body moving. … I was just kind of in my own world.”

DeChambeau’s birdie roll narrowly missed the cup.

What followed was a wild hour-plus with a pair of fist-pumping birdies, some miraculous recoveries and a sloppy double bogey that ultimately kept the field within reach of the 2020 US Open champion.

DeChambeau has been repeating the phrase all week: “Try to have boring golf. The middle of the greens never moves.”

The fact that DeChambeau was just a bit off with his ball striking worked to his advantage more often than not. He did not attempt to mark approaches on Nos. 13 and 14. His shot into the 13th green was pushed before returning to the hole. On the next hole, DeChambeau drew a big lie in the pine straw to the right of the fairway; his 134-yard wedge shot didn’t pull the way DeChambeau wanted, and the wind pushed him back toward the pin, putting the ball 10 feet away.

“That’s kind of what you do here: You try to play conservative golf, which gives you a chance to get close in some scenarios,” said DeChambeau, who rolled in the birdie putt this time to push himself to 8 under .

As his ball disappeared into the cup, DeChambeau gave a fist pump, amid more roars and even some “USA, USA, USA!” chants.

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

DeChambeau embraces support at the 2024 US Open

Bryson DeChambeau recaps his third round of 67 at the 2024 US Open, his ability to work around the greens and embrace the fans’ support with a favorable lead ahead of the final round.

He needed it to get in as he missed each of his next two greens. He was up and down on No. 15, but his approach on the par-4 16th came twenty yards short of the hole and landed on the front left of the green. DeChambeau chipped into a right hole and missed his target by just a few feet, and his ball rolled back off the front of the green.

He would eventually make a double bogey, his first of the championship – which is also significant, as each of the three previous US Open champions at Pinehurst never carded worse than a bogey en route to victory.

If anyone can bash this trend, it’s Bryson.

Still aiming for the thick part of the green on the 180-yard, par-3 17th hole, DeChambeau pushed his tee shot slightly, sending it on an ultra-aggressive line straight to the flag. He then rolled home the twelve-footer for his sixth birdie of the round.

When DeChambeau heard about that number after his 3-under 67, he shook his head and exhaled at the surprising performance before saying, “Awesome.”

No one else within six shots heading into Sunday had more than four birdies.

“He played well all day,” Åberg, who backed up with a 73, said of DeChambeau. “He got the ball up and down from the bunkers and hit the shots really well. That’s nothing I can do anything about. Obviously what happened to me at 13 is not ideal. It doesn’t necessarily change the way you try to approach this golf course. I guess you can only play it one way. If you don’t play like that, you will be punished. That’s what I did.”

Pinehurst No. 2 has seen both close victories (Payne Stewart by one shot in 1999; Michael Campbell by two in 2005) and the five-shot defeat of Martin Kaymer in 2014. Collin Morikawa fired a 66 on Saturday, a weekend round that allows was to catch DeChambeau appears out there. DeChambeau is at 7 under, three strokes ahead of Matthieu Pavon, Rory McIlroy and Patrick Cantlay.

Cantlay, speaking just before DeChambeau in the interview room, emphasized that he would continue to work his way around the tough Donald Ross gem on his way out. Sunday’s penultimate group next to McIlroyjust ahead of DeChambeau and Pavon.

“It takes patience and discipline,” Cantlay said. “I did a good job of that this week by trying not to shoot too many flagsticks, especially when I don’t have a wedge in my hands… and I’m going to carry that plan into tomorrow.”

On tap for Sunday: more boring golf that, if Saturday night proves anything, could be – and probably will be – anything but.