Bryson DeChambeau, Golf’s Showman, Leads By Three Shots at U.S. Open

The 2020 U.S. Open winner shot a 3-under-par 67 to surge into the lead at Pinehurst No. 2. 
Bryson DeChambeau has a three-shot lead after 54 holes at the U.S. Open.
Bryson DeChambeau has a three-shot lead after 54 holes at the U.S. Open. / John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

PINEHURST, N.C. – Bryson DeChambeau is in the driver’s seat for a second U.S. Open title after a Saturday 67 at Pinehurst No. 2.

The captain of Crushers GC in LIV Golf stands at 7 under par, three shots ahead of Patrick Cantlay, Matthieu Pavon, Rory McIlroy at 4 under. Hideki Matsuyama and Ludvig Åberg are five back at 2 under.

Once a polarizing figure on the PGA Tour and controversial for his 2022 move to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf League, the 30-year-old winner of the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot has won back the adulation of many golf fans with a showman’s approach to golf and strong play.

DeChambeau had a share of the 36-hole lead at this year’s Masters before finishing T6 and was solo second at the PGA Championship, edged by one shot when Xander Schauffele birdied the 72nd hole at Valhalla Golf Club.

“He’s one of the most popular figures in the game,” McIlroy said after his round “Even though Xander won the PGA, Bryson was almost the star of the show.” 

This U.S. Open will likely be DeChambeau’s to lose after a third straight round in the 60s, the only player to do so in four U.S. Opens played at Pinehurst No. 2, which is holding its own against the world’s best players. DeChambeau trailed by one shot to Åberg going into Saturday then surged ahead with four birdies in a seven-hole stretch midway through the round.

He briefly held a four-shot lead before making his first double bogey of the week at the par-4 16th hole, but responded with a birdie at the par-3 17th hole—his sixth birdie of the day—to move back ahead by three.

DeChambeau heard chants of “U-S-A, U-S-A” from the first tee to the 18th, and acknowledged fans throughout his round. The one-time competitor in professional long drive competitions thrills fans every time he pulls his Krank driver, to the point that he apologized to fans at the 13th tee when he pulled an iron from his bag at the short par-4.

“Don’t boo me, I’m sorry,” he said.

He was second in the field Saturday in driving distance at 344.1 yards—35 yards ahead of the field average—but his putting has put him in position to win. Saturday he had 25 putts, leading the field, and gained more than three strokes on the greens.

“A beautiful day, I had a lot of fun,” DeChambeau said. “Just trying to stay in the moment. Not feeling great, played brilliant.”

Midway through his round he was visited on the course by a physio to get treatment on what he called “two hips that are not fantastic” but said he’d be unaffected for Sunday’s final round. 

Should DeChambeau win, it would be the second win for an active LIV Golfer. Brooks Koepka won the PGA Championship last year at Oak Hill.


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John Schwarb

JOHN SCHWARB

John Schwarb is the senior golf editor for Sports Illustrated whose career has spanned more than 25 years covering sports. He’s been featured on ESPN.com, PGATour.com, The Golfers Journal and Tampa Bay Times. He’s also the author of The Little 500: The Story of the World's Greatest College Weekend. A member of the Golf Writers Association of America, John is based in Indianapolis.