Rory McIlroy’s horrific collapse hands US Open title to Bryson DeChambeau

rory mcilroy’s horrific collapse hands us open title to bryson dechambeau

Rory McIlroy had three bogeys in his final four holes - Getty Images/Jared C. Tilton

How does Rory McIlroy possibly get over this? He missed two putts from three feet on the 16th and 18th to hand Bryson DeChambeau the US Open title and so miss out on finally ending his infamous major drought.

It was as stunning as it was cruel and the abuse the Northern Irishman will receive from his detractors is not worth thinking about. McIlroy’s own demons will terrorise him as well. Surely. He was two shots ahead of DeChambeau with five holes to play and his first major in 10 years was staring him in the face.

This was it. In the week he called off his divorce McIlroy was about to be reunited with the trophies that matter most. Two joyous reunions.

Alas, reality reared its ugly, but depressingly familiar, head and with McIlroy dropping three shots in the last four, DeChambeau was able to steal through, with a remarkable par on the 18th, to lift his national championship for a second time. Credit to the American and his 71 for the six-under winning total, one ahead of McIlroy, who fired a 69. The Californian was forced to change his driver face 15 minutes before his tee-time and his biggest weapon inevitably went awry. But with an incredible up-and-down from a bunker 55 yards away on the 18th, he brought an end to a quite staggering finale. He leapt around and cheered and shouted to the camera “that is pain right there”. Tell McIlroy about it.

Call DeChambeau what you wish – Mad Scientist, Incredible Bulk, LIV rebel – but his moniker after this excruciating drama is now “Multiple Major Winner”.

rory mcilroy’s horrific collapse hands us open title to bryson dechambeau

After a rollercoaster of a back nine it was Bryson DeChambeau who was left smiling with the trophy - Getty Images/Alex Slitz

But how bitter for McIlroy, who also came second in this event a year ago. No doubt, he has learnt how to play US Opens since being called a flat-track bully in his younger, garlanded days, but that fifth major remains elusive and after this, it can only be wondered if he will ever clear the mass of mental hurdles that line up ahead.

It will be of absolutely no consolation to the 35-year-old, but this was a classic nail-biter of a final round. Starting three behind,  McIlroy holed a 20-footer on the first to reduce the gap and when his second was in the air on the par-five fifth, it looked certain he would pick up another shot.

But Pinehurst’s upturned-saucer greens are vicious and it rolled off and into a waste area. A certain birdie thus became a bogey. Despite bogeying the fourth, DeChambeau was two ahead.

The front-runner was scrambling, however, with that new driver face letting him down and consistently placing him in the wire-grass in the sandy native areas that flank these fairways. The fans still believed in their new-found hero and on the seventh he produced an up-and-down that almost defied belief.

rory mcilroy’s horrific collapse hands us open title to bryson dechambeau

DeChambeau's bunker shot on the last will likely go down as one of the great up-and-downs to win a major - USA Today/John David Mercer

Again, he was in trouble off the tee – among the trees – and he could only play left of the green. But with a double bogey in play, he chipped it to 20 feet and holed the par putt. DeChambeau turned to face the grandstand and reacted to the euphoria with a couple of huge fist pumps and a yell of “let’s go!”.

Patrick Cantlay was also in the hunt, but fighting an ultimately losing battle with his disobliging putter. It was the first time the controversial American had played with McIlroy since their notorious Ryder Cup showdown in Rome last October when the contest veered into the ugly with McIlroy and Cantaly’s caddie, Joe LaCava, involved in a blazing row on the 18th.

In normal circumstances, this awkward reunion would have been the focus, but this stretch for the ages was far bigger than that. And McIlroy’s putter was determined to arrest the spotlight – in whatever fashion.

rory mcilroy’s horrific collapse hands us open title to bryson dechambeau

Until the final four holes McIlroy had played brilliantly - AP/Matt York

On the par-three ninth, McIlroy holed a 15-footer down the hill for his second birdie of the day. He was one behind. On the par-five 10th, he drove into the waste, but recovered to give himself a birdie chance from 27 feet. He again converted and drew level with DeChambeau.

The latter inched ahead again, with his own birdie on the 10th. No matter, McIlroy had a 22-footer on the 12th. Yes, it dropped and when he birdied the driveable 13th as well, he assumed the outright lead for the first time in the tournament. In fact, when DeChambeau bogeyed the 12th, McIlroy was two shots to the good.

Over, surely? Not when the nerves are jangling with this menace. On the par-three 15th, McIlroy flew the green and was in the wire-straw. He took his punishment and accepted his bogey. By then DeChambeau had birdied the 13th, after hitting his three-wood to eagle range. Level again.

However, DeChambeau made his first three-putt on the 15th. It was getting ridiculous, to the extent that the galleries did not know who to cheer for, hedging their bets by going crazy for McIlroy and DeChambeau at the same time. Cantlay was out of it. It was a two-horse race and the only shame was that they were not accompanying each other, charging for the line.

McIlroy played the treacherous 16th perfectly. Until shockingly skewing the tiddler for par. The groans resounded, McIlroy looked stunned – of all the clubs to misbehave on this Sunday – and  20 minutes later it happened again.

When DeChambeau’s winning putt dropped and the commotion ensued, McIlroy was in the recorder’s hut watching on TV. He was distraught. He had every right to be.

Back nine for the ages ends in yet more pain for McIlroy as it happened 

12:09 AM BST

DeChambeau on that bunker shot

“I can’t believe that up and down on the last, that was probably the best shot of my life...I haven’t really let it sink in yet.”

12:06 AM BST

While Rory looked lost once the winning putt went in...

...DeChambeau was the dictionary definition of jubilant.

rory mcilroy’s horrific collapse hands us open title to bryson dechambeau

DeChambeau cannot contain his joy after he completes a brilliant up-and-down to win the US Open - Getty Images/Jared C.Tilton

rory mcilroy’s horrific collapse hands us open title to bryson dechambeau

It's DeChambeau's second US Open title - he's a brilliant champion - Getty Images/Jared C. Tilton

rory mcilroy’s horrific collapse hands us open title to bryson dechambeau

With the trophy after a rollercoaster of a back-nine that will live long in the memory - Getty Images/Jared C.Tilton

11:51 PM BST

Rory has left the course

11:51 PM BST

Can Rory recover from this?

The last time I saw him this gutted at the end of a major was the 2011 Masters after that famous meltdown.

He came back immediately and won the US Open at Congressional the very next major. Can he do the same at Troon? Let’s hope so.

But there will be some who’ll question whether he can bounce back from this.

11:48 PM BST

Pretty sure that right now

Rory wouldn’t give a ---- (insert rude word of your choosing...) about this impressive stat.

11:46 PM BST

Rory fans look away now

Here’s the missed putt at 18.

11:42 PM BST

Penny for McIlroy’s thoughts

Never a fan of the C-word (choke) but three bogeys in his last four holes, two missed putts inside three-feet in his last three holes (having had none all year), and a horror of an 18th (why take driver?) are things he’ll have to dwell on as he still seeks to break his 10-year major duck.

As I type that we see TV pictures of him watching the winning putt and he looks absolutely gutted. And you have to have no soul and a heart of stone not to feel for him.

11:39 PM BST

DECHAMBEAU WINS THE US OPEN!

It was wishful thinking to think he was going to miss the four-putt...indeed he drains it and wins his second major and second US Open.

11:36 PM BST

Great shot from DeChambeau

His bunker shot is close to perfection, he hits it up the slope and it ends four-foot away. That was sheer class and quite possibly the title.

11:33 PM BST

Some solace for Rory

As DeChambeau’s second finds the bunker, leaving him 50 yards to the pin.

Boy, both these players have made a hash of this hole.

11:32 PM BST

That was Rory’s second...

...putt under three-feet missed in three holes having not missed one all season.

Also he had three bogeys in his final four holes...

That was hard to type...

11:31 PM BST

125 yards back is DeChambeau

He’s in the pine straw and has a tree impeding his backswing...

11:30 PM BST

Rory misses! OUCH

That was hard to watch...it was a slight left-right putt and it only ever flirts with dropping...oh dear...that was a horror putt to follow a horror drive and not the best approach...

He ends on five-under...

11:27 PM BST

Great chip from Rory

Leaves him with four-foot for par and a six-under total.

Needs to make the putt, though...sweaty palms all over the place (they’re just mine typing this)...

11:26 PM BST

DeChambeau brings out driver at 18

And, as with Rory, finds the left rough.

Nerves...

11:24 PM BST

Rory’s approach to 18

Is from the native area and all of 124 yards from the pin. It’s far from a clean hit and it’s short. It’s not a ‘bad leave’ but yet another (the zillionth today) tricky up-and-down coming up.

11:23 PM BST

DeChambeau takes an age to take the putt

For once I’ll allow him the slow play, let’s face it, it’s understandable.

It’s 18-foot, he says to his caddie he’s going to play it as a 16-footer and it goes just short.

11:18 PM BST

Meanwhile, Rory takes a driver...

...rather than three-wood at 18 and he finds the native area...oh dear. Yesterday, I think, took three-wood and only had a wedge into the green...

11:17 PM BST

Great shot from DeChambeau at 17

His tee-shot at the par-three leaves him with a 15-footer for birdie and the sole lead.

11:17 PM BST

Will there be a play-off

Looks like it at the moment.

11:14 PM BST

This par put is three-and-half feet

And....

Rory MAKES IT! Phew...

He stays at six-under, level with DeChambeau with the former heading to the 18th and latter to the 17th.

11:12 PM BST

As DeChambeau’s birdie putt at 16 nearly goes in...

...Rory’s bunker shot at 17 leaves him with a four-footer for par. Good shot under pressure from the Northern Irishman there.

11:10 PM BST

Clubhouse leader is Tony Finau

The American birdies the last to close on four-under. That’s not a bad number to be on at the moment...

11:09 PM BST

Rory finds the greenside bunker at 17

He took a six-iron at the 220-yard par three and it trickles into the sandy stuff.

11:08 PM BST

That was...

Rory’s first missed putt inside three feet all season...OUCH...

11:06 PM BST

Now Rory misses a par putt

He’s been so good with those short putts (and long ones, too) all day but here, at the 16th, having played the hole close to perfectly - drive bisected the fairway, approach from 184 to the heart of the green, lagged 24-footer - he misses a two-footer to fall back to six-under.

He’s now sharing the lead with DeChambeau...as you were...

This is exciting...

10:58 PM BST

DeChambeau misses the par putt!

He was looking at birdie and moments later walks off the 15th green with bogey...Rory leads by one!

The American is in a brawl with Rory and is currently on the ropes. He looks, understandably, dejected.

Is that the key moment this evening? I think it just might be...

rory mcilroy’s horrific collapse hands us open title to bryson dechambeau

Big miss from DeChambeau - Shutterstock /Erik S Lesser

10:55 PM BST

DeChambeau puts a bit of heat on the birdie putt

It’s from 25 feet and races past the hole to leave him a knee-knocker to save par...

10:50 PM BST

DeChambeau finds the dancefloor at 15

He’ll have a decent-enough look at birdie to regain the sole lead...

The smile of earlier has been replaced by a steely focus - he knows he’s in a brawl with Rory to win this.

10:48 PM BST

Bogey for McIlroy at 15

He was unable to hole the 31-footer and falls back to seven-under, in a tie for the lead with DeChambeau who’s about to take his tee shot on the same par-three.

Meanwhile, Cantlay, still not out of it, walks off the green with a par to stay at five-under.

10:44 PM BST

Not a bad chip from the back from Rory

He still has a 31-footer for par but it could have been a lot worse...

10:39 PM BST

Horror tee-shot from McIlroy at 15

He’s gone long at the par-three, not just long but it looks as though the ball is nestled by a clump of grass. It will be a devilishly tricky up-and-down to save par from there.

For what it’s worth, I think the above tweet is a bit harsh.

10:36 PM BST

Another good putt from Rory

Means he walks off the 14th with par, to stay on eight-under. He has been so good with the flatstick today. His drive found the left native area and his approach was slightly pulled, but another gutsy up-and-down means no dropped shots.

He looks a US Open champion (again) in waiting...

10:27 PM BST

DeChambeau birdies the 13th

He drove the green and his eagle-putt left him a tap in birdie. He’s back to seven-under, one back of Rory.

10:26 PM BST

It seems a trite thing to say...

...but am going to say it anyway...You can hit lovely drives, pitch-perfect approaches but if you do not hole your putts there’s always a sense that you’re playing catch up. For so long in these final rounds, when Rory’s been in contention, he hasn’t holed the putts (last year’s US Open being a very good case in point). Today his putter is hot and he’s got a two-shot because of it.

rory mcilroy’s horrific collapse hands us open title to bryson dechambeau

On the charge - Rory McIlroy - Getty Images/Jared C Tilton

10:22 PM BST

Rory’s holing birdie for fun

10:19 PM BST

Rory has a two-shot lead!

This has turned around BIG TIME in a matter of minutes. He drains the birdie putt (his fourth in five holes) to move to eight-under WHILE DeChambeau, a hole back bogeys.

It’s the first time McIlroy has lead a major since the last Open at the Home of Golf...

As it stands...

Eight-under - McIlroy

Six-under - DeChambeau

Five-under - Cantlay

10:14 PM BST

Meanwhile...

...DeChambeau has to lay up on 12 and he’s now struggling to make par...

Oooooh, interesting times - are we about wo see a game-changing swing to Rory?

10:13 PM BST

Rory drives through the green at the 316-yard par-four 13th

That leaves him with a delicate chip which he plays well, leaving him a six/seven-footer for another birdie.

10:11 PM BST

This is...

...you suspect a two-horse race.

10:06 PM BST

On the march

10:03 PM BST

Boooooooooom!

I spell ‘boom’ incorrectly on purpose as Rory drains the 22-footer to move to seven-under. He has got his eye in in a way that he hasn’t in final rounds when in contention recently (last year’s US Open being Exhibit A in that argument). That could be the difference...

Is Rory about to break that 10-year duck?

10:02 PM BST

DeChambeau makes the par putt

To stay at seven-under. I used to call him DeShambles but he’s been brilliant at Pinehurst, he’s held his nerve, minimised mistakes and, should he hold his nerve, will be a deserved winner.

Still, seven holes to go...

rory mcilroy’s horrific collapse hands us open title to bryson dechambeau

DeChambeau - still the man to beat - Getty Images/Alex Slitz

09:59 PM BST

DeChambeau’s bunker shot at 11

Leaves him six-foot for par, while Rory’s approach from 142 yards is pin-high and he’ll have a 22-footer for birdie and a share of the lead (as it stands...).

09:54 PM BST

DeChambeau finds the greenside bunker at the 11th

His shortgame has been brilliant this week, but this is now squeaky-bum time...Meanwhile, Rory’s stinger at 12 finds the fairway.

09:47 PM BST

Rory misses birdie putt at 11

As DeChambeau finds the native area further back on the same hole - that looks like a horror lie...

09:45 PM BST

DeChambeau has been brilliant with the putter

And the flatstick gets him back to seven-under, with birdie at 10. A lovely chip left him a six-footer and he’s back in sole lead.

We’ve have a humdinger of a final few holes ahead of us...

09:39 PM BST

On the move

09:38 PM BST

Rory joins DeChambeau at the top of the leaderboard!

The Northern Irishman has moved to six-under (two-under for the day) at the 10th. His drive at the par-five ended up in the native area, he laid up and with his third, from 136 yards, gives himself 26 foot for birdie. He nails that and he is now top of the leaderboard with the American - interesting.

He’s played so well today and the momentum is definitely with him.

Meanwhile, his playing partner Cantlay also steps onboard the bridie train (choo-chooooo) and he moves to five-under.

You suspect the winner will from from this pair and DeChambeau.

09:30 PM BST

DeChambeau heads into the back nine

With a one-shot lead.

He pars the par-three ninth and this is how it stands with nine holes to play...

Six-under - DeChambeau

Five-under - McIlroy

Four-under - Cantlay

Two-under - Finau

Two-under - Henley

Two-under - Pavon

09:20 PM BST

HUUUUUGE par save

For DeChambeau at the eighth. It was huge enough to deserve caps-lock as it means he stays at six-under, with a one-shot lead. It’s obvious how much it means to the American because, as soon as the ball dropped, he celebrates as though he’s just won the Masters, Open, World Cup and Super Bowl in one-fell swoop. Think that’s the new DeChambeau, the one who interacts with the fans, on show...

09:18 PM BST

Henley is making a move

From virtually nowhere the American is now at two-under. He’s birdied 13 and 14, to go with his birdies at eight and 10. If he can get to the clubhouse and post three-under, you never know...

rory mcilroy’s horrific collapse hands us open title to bryson dechambeau

Making a move - Russell Henley - USA Today /Katie Goodale

09:15 PM BST

Cantlay misses his birdie putt at nine

So stays at four-under.

As it stands...

Six-under Dechambeau (7)

Five-under McIlroy (9)

Four-under Cantlay (9)

09:13 PM BST

Birdie for Rory!

He drains the 14-foot putt at the ninth to move to five-under one shot off the lead, with DeChambeau in trouble at the eighth.

09:11 PM BST

DeChambeau’s approach at eight

Isn’t great. His drive did indeed end up in the woods. The leader tries to his a low fadey shot that goes long and shortsides himself. An up-and-down here would be very special indeed.

As DeChambeau puts himself into trouble, a hole ahead Rory and Cantlay’s tee shots at he par-three ninth both find the dancefloor and both will have a good look at birdie.

Interesting times...

09:06 PM BST

There are only eight players under par

Did someone say Pinehurst No.2 was tough..?!

09:06 PM BST

Ballsy par-save from Rory

He gets up-and-down on another hole. He needs to finds a few greens or, you suspect, his luck may run out. But for now he stays at four-under, two back of DeChambeau.

rory mcilroy’s horrific collapse hands us open title to bryson dechambeau

McIlory is hanging in there - Getty Images/Jared C.Tilton

09:03 PM BST

DeChambeau blocks his drive at eight

Not for the first time today...that doesn’t look good, he’s at best in the native area, or, at worst, in the trees.

08:58 PM BST

Rory’s approach to the eighth

From 190 yards catches the slope and trickles down to leave him another tricky up and down. He could do with a good look at birdie soon as this is a bit of a war of attrition so far.

08:54 PM BST

Doing what he needs to do (so far)...

DeChambeau, on six-under, is two ahead of Cantlay and McIlory through six. He’s one-over for the day but that’s fine (so far).

rory mcilroy’s horrific collapse hands us open title to bryson dechambeau

DeChambeau is still the man to beat at Pinehurst - Getty Images/Jared C Tilton

08:49 PM BST

Rory makes par at the seventh

That’s a great up-and-down from the Northern Irishman after a poor approach. The chip from way off the back left him with a knee-knocker (a five-foot putt) but he drained the putt and remains at four-under, two back of DeChambeau.

08:45 PM BST

McIlroy’s approach at the seventh

Looks good in the air but, as with so many approaches at Pinehurst, catches a slope and goes long over the green. You can talk about the tricky greens but that was a poor shot from Rory, he had a nine-iron and blocked it.

08:43 PM BST

A shot all of us hackers know only too well

Aberg walked off with a bogey at the par-four seventh to fall back to level-par.

08:39 PM BST

Both Rory and Cantlay walk off the par-three six

With pars to stay at four- and three-under respectively.

In the group behind DeChambeau, having been in trouble (found the native area to the left with his drive and then the bunker with his second) walks off the fifth green with a par, he’ll be more than happy with that to stay at six-under, still with a two-shot lead.

08:27 PM BST

And Rory falls back to four-under

Having seen his approach end in the native area (see the previous two posts). His third is a chip into the bunker and he is unable to get up-and-down from there, and cards a six.

So unlucky (i) to see his fine approach end up where it did, and (ii) that having seen it fall victim to the lightning-fast green not to end up in the bunker. That’s where playing partner Cantlay’s approach ended and he leaves the green with a par to stay at three-under.

With DeChambeau having bogeyed the fourth (thanks to a three-putt) Rory is back to two-behind...still plenty of race to run.

08:24 PM BST

Here’s that shot that illustrates how hard this set-up is

Yep, it’s the Rory approach to the par-five fifth (see previous post).

08:20 PM BST

McIlroy finds the native area to the left of the green

With his approach to the par-five-fifth. And it’s shot that illustrates the difficulty of this course. He hits a five-iron that makes the green well to the right of the pin but catches a slope (it all goes right to left) and trickles from well to the right of the large green, a good 80 feet to the rough on the left of the green. It was a good shot and where it ended up illustrates the ‘unfair’ nature of how the course is set up. It’s right on the edge, some would say too far over it...

Cantlay finds the bunker equally unluckily....

08:13 PM BST

Pavon

Has bounced back from that horror three-putt bogey at the first with a birdie at the third. He’s back to four-under and still very much part of the conversation.

08:08 PM BST

Rory shortsided himself at the fourth

But his chip slowly releases down the green and he’ll have a four-footer for par. Meanwhile playing partner Cantlay bogeys the same hole. His approach found the bunker and he was unable to get up-and-down to stay at four-under. He moves to three-under and, as it stands, it looks like a two-horse race with Rory (who has just made the par putt) on five-under and DeChambeau at seven-under.

08:06 PM BST

This already has a staring contest theme about it

DeChambeau is level through three, Rory is one-under through three. Both have done what they needed to do out the blocks, someone needs to blink...

08:00 PM BST

Steady as she goes for DeChambeau

He misses an eight-footer for birdie at the third to stay at seven-under.

As it stands it looks like a straight shootout between the American, Rory and Cantlay, who as I typed that, pulls his approach at the fourth into the greenside bunker.

07:57 PM BST

Here’s an encouraging stat

Rory has had the most under-par round in the final rounds of majors since 2015.

That’s 47 to the next best’s (Scheffler) 26.*

*Caveat is that a lot of those will have been with him out of contention...but still...

07:50 PM BST

DeChambeau pars the second to stay at seven-under

He left himself a bit of work to do due to his approach. But a lovely up-and-down thanks to an exquisite touch, means he’s doing what he needs to do.

That chip doesn’t bode well for McIlroy and Co. The American has looked good under pressure this week and if they need him to blow up, which you think they do, then initial signs aren’t great.

07:40 PM BST

Cordial

Is the word, I think...

McIlroy, who called Cantlay a ‘d--k’, says hello on the first to said ‘d--k’...

rory mcilroy’s horrific collapse hands us open title to bryson dechambeau

Not best of buddies Rory McIlroy and Patrick Cantlay say hello to each other - Getty Images/Ross Kinnaird

07:37 PM BST

Rory stays at five-under

He, as his playing partner Cantlay, both par the par-four second.

07:36 PM BST

Hatton is seemingly angry when he plays a good shot

So god knows how he feels at the moment...he’s four-over for the day through three...that’s moved him to three-over and and feint hopes he had of glory are well and truly gone.

07:34 PM BST

Horror three-putt from Pavon at the first

From all of 35 feet. He’s back to three-over and that is a shot throw away.

Playing partner two-putts for par. He stays at seven-under, two clear of Rory.

07:33 PM BST

Scheffler ends on eight-over

He never really got going and, for once, he’s had a tournament to forget (a collector’s item)...

07:31 PM BST

Aberg’s race is run

(You suspect). And that’s because he’s carded a triple-bogey seven at the third. It all down to his second which went out of bounds, from there he was always scrambling, his fourth found the bunker and he’s now back to one-over. He’ll be in contention in a major very soon, though. And I am not Nostradamus for predicting that, he’s sooooo good.

07:28 PM BST

Good approach from DeChambeau

He was unlucky as his tee shot landed in a divot. But he handled that approach from 143 yards brilliantly as he give himself a 25-foot look at a birdie.

Meanwhile, Pavon, who has the same yardage, also finds the dancefloor and will have a decent enough look at getting to five-under.

07:26 PM BST

Booooom!

Rory makes birdie at the first! He drains the 20-footer for birdie at the first to move to five-under.

He needed a good start and, so far, has exactly that. In final round gone by, when he’s been in contention, he’s started slowly and struggled to find a groove. That birdie is a great early sign. He’s just two back of DeChambeau now.

rory mcilroy’s horrific collapse hands us open title to bryson dechambeau

Great start for Rory McIlroy - AP/Matt York

07:22 PM BST

DeChambeau and Pavon

Get their final rounds under way. The Frenchman goes first and, with an iron, finds the fairway. The three-shot leader then goes and, also with an iron, finds the short stuff.

07:21 PM BST

Rory has 142 into the first

He hits it pin-high and will have about a 20-footer for birdie and to move to five-under. You suspect he needs a fast start.

07:18 PM BST

And of course, Rory had some beef with Cantlay’s caddie...

...who remembers McIlroy’s ‘heated debate’ with Joe LaCava at the Ryder Cup.

07:13 PM BST

It’s Rory time!

His tee shot finds the fairway, as does Patrick Cantlay’s. Both used irons and both walk off the tee box without talking to each other, no shock there, they both dislike each other (apparently).

Meanwhile, up on the green both Aberg and Matsuyama make their par putts (well played, they were far off gimmes...) to stay at two-under.

07:11 PM BST

Aberg and Matsuyama

Are both struggling to make par at the first. The Swede’s approach went left and the Japanese star’s long. Both have long (ish) putts for par.

07:03 PM BST

Aberg and Matsuyama are off

Both find the first fairway and both need a fast start. The Swede’s short game let him down yesterday, but at two-under is still (just) in contention. The former Masters champion is on the same score...

07:01 PM BST

Tommy Fleetwood is two-under...

...for the day through 11. He’s back to three-over and here’s a lovely putt to salivate over.

06:45 PM BST

Hatton and Finau about to tee off

Both on one-under, six back of DeChambeau. You think that has to be too far back...but you never know...

06:22 PM BST

The best completed round so far is...

...a 68, from Seonghyeon Kim. And the best round still out on the course is also two-under. So scoring is, once again, hard...

06:20 PM BST

Tee times coming up

Popcorn for that penultimate pairing (they, Rory and Cantlay, are not BBFLs (Best Buds For Life, as if you didn’t know...)...)

6:26 Aaron Rai (Eng), Tom Kim (Kor)

6.37 Corey Conners (Can), Collin Morikawa

6.48 Tony Finau (US), Tyrrell Hatton (Eng)

6.59 Ludvig Åberg (Swe), Hideki Matsuyama (Jap)

7.10 Patrick Cantlay (US), Rory McIlroy (NIR)

7.21 Matthieu Pavon (Fra), Bryson DeChambeau (US)

06:06 PM BST

Is a three-shot lead too much?

A three-shot lead on a devilishly hard course can be seen two ways. (i) It’s hard to make up a lot of shots in terms of the catching pack making a bunch of birdies, and (ii) on such a tricky track shots can be lost so easily that three shots is nothing.

So it depends on whether you’re a glass-half full or a glass-half empty person regards Rory McIlroy’s chances of chasing down Bryson DeChambeau’s lead heading into this evening’s final round at Pinehurst, a course, one suspects, a lot of these golfers won’t be in a rush to head back to (at least not when it’s set up as it has been this week).

McIlroy said coming into this US Open that he feels he’s never been close to breaking that 10-year major drought. And his first three rounds in North Carolina have illustrated that that belief was far from misplaced. He’s played brilliantly, his lag putting and short game have been as good as anything and he’s within striking distance of the American.

But DeChambeau has been just a level above the rest of the field these past three days and one suspects it will be more a case of him tripping up than a surge from behind if the ‘Mad Scientist’ isn’t to win his second US Open and major.

Whatever happens McIlroy is out to enjoy the pressure and fun.

”I’m embracing the questions that the golf course asks of you,” McIlroy said. “It tests your chipping. It tests your putting. It obviously tests your mental fortitude more than any other golf tournament.

”It’s a style of golf I’ve started to try and embrace over these past few years.

”I’m pretty much in the same position that I was last year going into the final day and hopefully I produce the golf that’s needed to go one better,” he added, referring to his US Open runner-up finish in 2023.

Stay here to find out whether the Northern Irishman can break the 10-year duck and for all the action from Pinehurst No 2.

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