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DeChambeau storms to US Open title

-6 B DeChambeau (US); E M Wolff (US); +2 L Oosthuizen (SA); +3 H English (US); +4 X Schauffele (US); +5 D Johnson (US), W Zalatoris (US)
Selected others: +6 R McIlroy (NI), J Thomas (US), T Finau (US); +7 L Westwood (Eng), P Reed (US); +8 P Casey (Eng); +10 J Rahm (Spa); +15 S Lowry (Ire)

American Bryson DeChambeau produced a wonderful final-round display to win the US Open by six shots and claim the first major title of his career.

The 27-year-old was the only player to break par at the notoriously difficult Winged Foot, in New York.

Renowned for his big-hitting approach, the world number nine showed maturity and composure to card an impressive three-under 67 to win on six under par.

Matthew Wolff faded on the back nine, shooting 75 to finish second at level.

South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen, who finished third at two over, and Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy were the only non-Americans to place inside the top 10.

World number four McIlroy ended joint eighth at six over after a final-day 75 that included two double bogeys, while England’s Lee Westwood was a stroke further back.

DeChambeau, who began the day two behind 21-year-old overnight leader Wolff, was the only player to score an under par round on Sunday.

He was firmly in control by the time they hit the final stretch after playing the front nine in 33 shots – two under par and he then had one birdie and eight pars in his final nine holes.

Wolff, who was hoping to become the first debutant to win the championship since Francis Ouimet in 1907, dropped four shots on the run-in as the pressure built.

DeChambeau becomes only the second player to win the men’s US Open at Winged Foot with a score under par, joining 1984 champion Fuzzy Zoeller.

“It’s just an honour, it has been a lot of hard work,” he said

“At nine, that was when I first thought this could be a reality. I made an eagle, I had shocked myself to do that, and I thought ‘I can do it’.

“Then I said ‘no, you have to focus on each and every hole’. Throughout the back nine I kept saying ‘no, you still have three, four, five holes to go’, whatever it was.

“I had to keep focused and make sure I executed each shot the best I could do.”

‘Scientist’ DeChambeau proves the doubters wrong

DeChambeau

DeChambeau’s unique methods have divided opinion since he turned professional in 2016. Fans find them innovative, critics call them irritating.

The former physics student’s experiments have seen him dubbed ‘The Scientist’, tinkering with oversized grips, cutting all his clubs to the same length and most recently piling on more than 40lbs in the past year.

That helped turn him into the longest average driver on the PGA Tour last season and he said in the build-up to the US Open he would look to overpower the difficult West Course at Winged Foot.

DeChambeau claims to have been fuelling his muscle growth with a 3,000-3,500 calorie daily diet that packs in 400g of protein, and his length off the tee has helped fuel the debate around whether tournament balls should be introduced.

But for all the tinkering, chuntering and pursuit of power, the American showed great composure and an air of calmness to execute his game plan on a superb final day at Mamaroneck.

The obsessive DeChambeau was at the practice range under the floodlights on Saturday night after only hitting three fairways during a third-round 70, and the work paid off.

He wiped out Wolff’s two-shot lead within four holes. Wolff bogeyed the par-three third before DeChambeau rolled in his opening birdie of the day at the fourth.

When Wolff dropped another shot at five, DeChambeau was the sole leader.

Both then bogeyed the eighth to give the rest of the field a sniff, only to card a pair of eagles on the par-five ninth to turn it into a two-horse race.

It soon became a DeChambeau procession.

A frustrated Wolff, who carded a superb 65 on Saturday to lead on five under, fell away with bogeys at 10 and 14, before a double bogey at 16 ended any slim hopes he held of victory in only his second major appearance.

“I battled hard. Things just didn’t go my way,” said Wolff. “But first US Open, second place is something to be proud of.”

DeChambeau, who finished tied fourth with Wolff at last month’s US PGA Championship, rolled in another birdie at 11 and proceeded to complete a bogey-free back nine.

It meant, as he headed to the 18th tee with a six-shot lead, there would be none of the drama that accompanied the last US Open to be staged at Winged Foot, when Geoff Ogilvy won by one stroke at five over after Phil Mickelson and Colin Montgomerie double bogeyed the last.

Instead, DeChambeau was able to look into the camera and send love to his family as he walked up the final fairway, before rolling in a par putt and throwing his arms in the air in delight.

He becomes just the third player after Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods to win an NCAA individual title, the US Amateur title and a US Open.

McIlroy’s hopes over on the first

Four-time major champion McIlroy said he felt he had a chance if he was within six shots heading into the final day.

And that was the gap to leader Wolff when he teed off on Sunday, but his hopes of winning a second US Open title and first major in six years quickly unravelled with a double bogey at the first.

McIlroy’s tee shot found the fairway and he was on the green in two, only to four-putt from 90 feet after his first attempt failed to get over a ridge in the putting surface and rolled back towards him.

The 31-year-old added two more bogeys before clawing shots back at the ninth and 11th but a bogey on the 15th and a second double bogey at the 16th saw him fade again.

McIlroy’s was not the only drama on the first, as Harris English, who started the day at level par, lost his ball in the rough to the left of the opening fairway and had to return to the tee.

Club members had been employed as spotters throughout the week, but despite their efforts and those of English and playing partner Xander Schauffele, the ball could not be found within the three-minute time limit.

English recovered to finish in fourth place at three over with Schauffele, one of the favourites before the tournament, a stroke further back.

World number one Dustin Johnson, who came into the week with two wins and two second-placed finishes in his past four events, carded a final-round 70 to climb into a tie for sixth on five over par.

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