U.S. Open Day 3 Winners and Losers: Bryson DeChambeau Is the Man to Beat

Bryson DeChambeau leads by three shots, but he'll face several challengers on Sunday at Pinehurst.
Bryson DeChambeau leads by three shots entering the final round at Pinehurst.
Bryson DeChambeau leads by three shots entering the final round at Pinehurst. / Katie Goodale-USA TODAY Sports

PINEHURST, N.C. – Day 3 of the 2024 U.S. Open is in the books. We call ’em like we see ’em around here. They are:

Winners

Bryson DeChambeau: How can you not like DeChambeau? He's almost inarguably the most colorful character in the U.S. Open field, and he showed it Saturday during the third round. He’s fist-pumping. He’s high-fiving the fans. He’s animated after making crucial putts. And no putt was bigger than the one he made on 17 for birdie after he made a double bogey on 16. Does DeChambeau hang on Sunday and win his second U.S. Open? As long as his short game and putting holds up, you have to like his chances.

Rory McIlroy: His 1-under 69 wasn’t pretty. It featured four birdies, three bogeys and several missed opportunities. If not for two bogeys in the final four holes, he’s in the final group with DeChambeau. Still, McIlroy now has one of his better chances to win a major for the first time in 10 years. It’s going to take a spectacular round, something close to what Tiger did at the Masters five years ago. We’ll see if he finally has it in him. 

Collin Morikawa: The two-time major champion teed off at 10:39 a.m. Saturday, five hours before the final group, and will have a much later tee time Sunday after a bogey-free 66 that was the best on Moving Day. It’s his ninth 66 or better at a major, all since 2020, a feat only matched by Viktor Hovland over that span. 

Luke Clanton: In 123 previous U.S. Opens no amateur had shot consecutive rounds in the 60s, then the Florida State sophomore did it with a pair of 69s on Friday and Saturday. He’s tied with Neal Shipley in the battle for low amateur, and the two will play together in the final round.

Brandel Chamblee: NBC's longtime analyst, Johnny Miller, never sugar-coated anything, especially during the U.S. Open. Chamblee’s not Miller, but he’s as close as we've ever seen. He's been a welcome addition to the NBC booth.

Losers

Ludvig Aberg: It’s hard to put a 24-year-old in the loser’s category when he still has a chance to win the tournament. But his decision-making on 13 led to a triple bogey and he’s five shots behind DeChambeau. He’s capable of rebounding and putting together a good round Sunday but it might not be enough and he’ll know why. 

The Memorial Tournament: With its new signature event system, the PGA Tour moved Jack Nicklaus’s event back one week to immediately before the U.S. Open. But its latest champion, Scottie Scheffler, is suggesting he may be done playing tournaments before majors after a tired, lackluster week at Pinehurst. Surely those comments are getting back to Jack, who said last week he didn’t love the schedule change to begin with. Might another move be in order next year so the Memorial can have its defending champ?


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Jeff Ritter

JEFF RITTER

Jeff Ritter is the Managing Director of SI Golf. He spent more than a decade at Sports Illustrated and Golf Magazine, and in 2020 joined Morning Read to help spark its growth and eventual acquisition by Sports Illustrated in 2022. He's a member of the Golf Writers' Association of America (GWAA) and has covered more than 25 major championships. He helped launch SI Golf Plus Digital, Golf Magazine’s first original, weekly e-magazine, and served as its top editor. He also launched Golf's “Films” division, the magazine’s first long-form video storytelling franchise, and his debut documentary received an Edward R. Murrow Award for sports reporting. His writing has earned first-place awards from the Society of American Travel Writers, the MIN Magazine Awards, and the Golf Writers Association of America, among others. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. A native Michigander, he remains a diehard Wolverine fan and will defend Jim Harbaugh until the bitter end.

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.

John Pluym

JOHN PLUYM

John Pluym is the managing editor for NFL and golf content at Sports Illustrated. A sports history buff, he previously spent 10 years at ESPN overseeing NFL coverage. John has won several awards throughout his career, including from the Society of News Design and Associated Press Sports Editors. As a native Minnesotan, he enjoys spending time on his boat and playing golf.