Bryson DeChambeau vindicated in US Open triumph at Winged Foot

Bryson DeChambeau of the United States celebrates with the championship trophy after winning as low amateur John Pak of the United States
Bryson DeChambeau was hugely impressive in the final round Credit: Getty Images

The great Bryson DeChambeau experiment has been confirmed as an overwhelming and unqualified success. The American piled on the pounds, gained all the yards and, as the US Open champion, accumulated $2.25m dollars and his lifelong dream. 

Whatever anyone says about the 27-year-old - and much of it is not complimentary - nobody can deny that when he puts his studious mind to something, he spectacularly achieves. 

The Mad Scientist… The Incredible Bulk… the 2020 US Open champion. Of  all his monikers, only one matters now to DeChambeau.

He began the final round at Winged Foot - brutal Winged Foot - two off his 21-year-old countryman Matthew Wolff and on a day when the New York layout flashed its most severe fangs so DeChambeau clinically delivered a three-under 67, prevailing by six on six-under as the only player under par. 

Wolff finished on level par following a 75, while South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen was third on two-over after a 73. 

This was America’s 11th success in the last 13 majors and is the first time they have won 10 majors in succession on US soil in more than 40 years. The records were joyously being worked out all night in New York - with the US understandably sorrowful that this week’s scheduled Ryder Cup has been postponed - but the focus should centre around the graduation to the elite of a unique professional.

DeChambeau always has threatened to be a one-man revolution, famously having his clubs cut to the same size, having a one-plane swing and using protractors to ascertain exact yardages. Yet his mission to put on 40lb of bulk over lockdown to establish himself as the biggest-hitter in the game has been the unlikely venture to pay off most significantly. 

Nobody overpowers Winged Foot. Until DeChambeau got out his beloved yardage book and flexed his muscles, that is.

Consider that his three-under 67 was the only one under-par in the final round and then discover that this was the first time a US Open champion had enjoyed this distinction in 65 years. And then release the quality of this performance to win his first major.

No, DeChambeau is not widely admired because of his speed of play - tortoise-like - and his attitude - sometimes Diva-like. But this can still be regarded as one of the most remarkable final rounds at one of the game’s most challenging tests. And with the game’s governing bodies currently deciding whether to rein back the ball, this could one day also be thought of as one of the most important. 

DeChambeau spreadeagled the field on the final day Credit: AP

DeChambeau has everything planned out so meticulously that he even made sure to check that the US Open trophy’s lid would not fall off before he lifted it. 

“I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my sponsors,” was his first line in the prize-giving, endearing himself to [almost] nobody. "It's just an honour and I don't know what else to say,” he added after reeling off all his sponsor’s names. “It's been a lot of hard work.”

With Wolff slipping to three bogeys in his first eight holes, DeChambeau was one ahead on the ninth tee. This was a big moment. Wolff drove it 390 yards and DeChambeau 380 yards. They both had wedges to the green and when Wolff hit his approach to 10 feet it seemed game on. But DeChambeau holed his 35-footer for an eagle, before Wolff followed him in. 

From there, DeChambeau went to another gear, birdieing the 11th and then parring in with supreme confidence. He is deliberate, but he is also fearless. Never mind fairways and greens - send it as far up there as possible and let the power get you out of the rough with the wedges. He hit only 23 of 56 fairways and Rory McIlroy was only one who found that incredible. The Northern irishman even went as far to question the positives and negatives.

“No chance. No chance,” McIlroy replied when told if he could believe those fairways stats. “I don't really know what to say because that's just the complete opposite of what you think a US Open champion does. 

“Look, he's found a way to do it. Whether that's good or bad for the game, I don't know, but it's just… it’s not the way I saw golf course being played or this tournament being played. It's kind of hard to wrap my head around.”

DeChambeau winning the US Open from the rough will raise eyebrows Credit: AP

With a 75 McIlroy came eighth on six-over, his first top 10 in a full-field event since the PGA Tour resumed three months ago. Yet he went out believing he had a chance of collecting his first major title in six years and four-putted the first green for a double-bogey sixth. 

The world No 4’s challenge was over there and then and it all seemed depressingly familiar. So much for the Nappy Factor affording McIlroy the renowned bum in his form that a surprisingly high percentage of new fathers enjoy in professional golf. 

There is seven weeks to the Masters, where McIlroy will once again have the opportunity to complete the career grand slam. DeChambeau might just have that task more difficult still.

Oosthuizen concurred. “He’s busy setting his own little way of playing, in the sense, I don't think they can set it up for him,” he said. “He’s hitting it so far, he’s so strong out of the rough and he's probably one of the best putters out there. That all adds up to a lot of trouble for the rest of us.”

 

Zoom meeting

Best at amateur level, best at college level, now US Open champion

Fair play to DeChambeau

His methods may be zany and idiosyncratic, but DeChambeau has charted his own course to the top of the golfing world and taken a flamethrower to received wisdom and conventional thinking. Amen to that. 

If only he could do it a little faster, but you can't have everything. 

The winning moment

Bryson DeChambeau is the US Open champion!

They say golf is an art not a science, but Bryson DeChambeau will beg to differ. He has demolished this field and played fantastic golf on one of the hardest layouts in the world. 

DeChambeau pitches up

Uses the slope and will have a six footer or so for par to finish on a winning score of six-under. 

Credit to Wolff

He fires an approach off the back board to within four or five feet at the 18th. He deserves to finish with a birdie. Has not done much wrong, just been beaten by the better player. Just like the rest of the field. 

DeChambeau punches one into the front of the green, and it rolls back down into the valley short. Not that it matters. 

DeChambeau on the 18th tee with a six-shot lead

Three wood out...this time he does not get any draw and it runs out of fairway. No matter though, he can afford to chip the ball into the goalmouth, wedge on and two putt. 

Back at the 17th green

DeChambeau has a six-shot lead, but he is making double sure he drops legally after his ball came to rest near a sprinkler head. Calls for a rules official and makes sure he gets chapter and verse. Never too speedy is Bryson. 

The moment he surged clear

Another bomb off the 17th tee

The engraver can start writing the 'B.R.Y...' now. He is in the first cut of rough but there is no trouble there. Wolff knows his race is run. 

That drive was 365 yards from DeChambeau

He is in position A, and it's another short iron put pin high. His lead is surely unassailable now with Wolff finding more trouble down the left. 

On the tough par four 16th

Dechambeau crushes a drive down there that splits the fairway. Even on a 500-yard par four it will be a short iron in from there. Wolff loses another drive to the right...things have started to unravel for him. 

Good work from Wolff to pitch up close with his third

And he holes the five-foot putt to stay at two-under. DeChambeau's birdie putt did run on by two to three feet, but he should be assured of another par.

Sure enough, he knocks it in and the lead is four with three to play. 

Ideal from DeChambeau with his second

Pin high, 20 feet left on the pin. Does not need to take any more risks in his position. 

Corking tee shot off the 15th from DeChambeau

That was obscenely long and arrow straight. In the Mayor's office, perfect position. 

Wolff's tee shot squirts to the right and clatters some trees, producing another expletive. Bryson has one hand on the trophy but you never know...Devon Loch and all that. 

Wolff fails to get up and down

An DeChambeau now has a 10 foot putt to extend his lead to four. Takes his time (oh so much time) as he lines it up. And it was unerring! Bolts it into the back of the cup. 

Bryson leads by four with four to play. 

A missed green for DeChambeau

This time he cannot find a green from rough. It snags the clubface and he misses the green left, short-siding himself. 

Wolff plays out to the right on a safer line...but it doesn't make the journey and rolls all the way down the false front. It may have rolled back some 20 or 30 yards from the front edge/ 

The 14th tee

DeChambeau with a bit of a pull with the driver and it dives left into some thick stuff. Wolff follows him down there with a very similar tee shot. That was a mistake having seen his opponent find trouble. 

DeChambeau with another two-putt

The lead remains the same. DeChambeau looks safe as houses just now, but still five holes to go and they are all stiff par fours. 

On the 13th

DeChambeau thought his tee shot would release out to the back pin but he is safely aboard the surface nonetheless. Wolff's tee shot does take a firm first bounce forward, and he will have the more likely birdie attempt. 

Wolff's birdie try runs five feet past

Cracking try but it trickles on after grazing the hole. Wolff curses his luck; quite literally with an audible F-bomb. 

Great speed from DeChambeau on his putt and it's the easiest of pars. 

Wolff keeps his nerve to hole the return putt. As you were heading to the tough par-three 13th. 

That's how well he is playing

Wolff's wedge shot catches a slope

"How did that spin back?" exclaims Wolff as his wedge shot catches a slope short of the pin and zips back out of likely birdie range. 

DeChambeau with a smart and safe play away from the pin with his pitch. Works its way down from the back of the green to around 15 feet. Another birdie chance...

On the par five 12th

Wolff has had to lay up to around 70 yards, but still a birdie chance if he gets up and down. DeChambeau took the green on and his missed it to the right...but hard to see him making worse than par from there. Or even another birdie...will be a 30-yard pitch across a bunker. 

DeChambeau lands another punch!

Takes putter from off the green and judges it to perfection. That's a hat-trick of threes around the turn and he now has a three-shot lead over Wolff. Six-under par is a fantastic total. 

Indifferent approaches from both

DeChambeau comes up short while Wolff left the club face open and shoved it out to the right. Tricky up and down to come from the rough now. 

He's played it well through, will have four feet from underneath the hole for par. 

The 11th is not a long par four...

Wolff and DeChambeau are in good shape, with Bryson running into the semi rough. Both will have a lofted wedge in their hands. 

Wolff could not get up and down from that tricky stance

DeChambeau with a solid two putt from more than 30 feet and the 'Mad Scientist' now has a two shot lead with eight holes to play. 

On the 10th...

Tough par three this one. Oosthuizen in the group in front bogeyed after a three-putt. DeChambeau found the middle of the green but outside birdie range and Wolff's ball looked to be trickling into the left bunker but may have stayed in the rough on the bank. Will be an awkward stance if so. 

The eagles

Eagles for both!

DeChambeau  jumps to five-under with a beautiful putt from long range than dropped in dead weight. That's Bryson out in two-under 33 - Justin Thomas is the only other player under par today. 

And...Wolff follows him in! The final pair have some daylight to the rest. DeChambeau will take a one shot lead into the back nine of the US Open. 

Wolff cuts the ninth down to size

I know it's downwind..but the modern ball and technology makes a mockery of some of these old courses. A drive and a pitching wedge into the par five from Wolff. He had more than 170 yards for his second. It was a cracker though...about 10-12 feet for Eagle. Bryson's will be from more like 30 feet.

Wolff and Dechambeau in good shape on the ninth

Excellent drives by both players and they will have a presentable chance for birdie or even eagle on this par-five. Two putt par for Schauffele at the 10th. 

Both players missed their par putts

The lead is now three-under although Wolff and DeChambeau have the gettable par-five ninth to come. 

Wolff got his approach to the front edge on eight

Had some 80 feet down the green, and managed to lag his putt to about six feet. The final part of the putt was lightning fast. 

DeChambeau missed the green left and has a tester coming up for par. 

Schauffele is not out of this, he has found with 10th green with a fine iron shot.

Great two-putt birdie at the ninth by Schauffele

He has now got both of those early bogies back as he makes the turn just four shots off the lead. 

Two pars at the seventh for Wolff and Dechambeau

Both found the heart of the green on the par three and two-putted. Missed fairways from the pair at the par four eighth though with Wolff possibly blocked out by trees on the corner of the dog leg. 

Birdie for McIlroy at the ninth

Gets him back to four-over but that was not the front nine he was imagining. 

At the short par four sixth

DeChambeau took the green on and hit a solid shot that just drifted into the left rough. Hit a cautious but sensible shift to 15 feet underneath the hole, but the birdie putt trundled past. Wolff knocks in another par and DeChambeau's lead remains one. 

Over at the eighth...Schauffele makes his first birdie of the day by holing a putt from long range. Back to one-over...don't count him out. 

The moment the lead changed hands

DeChambeau the new leader

A missed fairway costs Wolff a bogey at the fifth and a solid par four from Bryson means he has a one-shot lead. 

This could be developing into a two-horse race

DeChambeau rolls in his birdie putt at the fourth to tie the lead at four-under. Another par for Wolff. There are now four shots separating them and second. 

Lovely from Dechambeau

From 135 yards, he played that like a long pitch and run and sure enough it trundled its way over the false front and within birdie range. Wolff was in the fairway so had to worry about spinning his ball off the front and was understandably cautious. Will have 40 off feet back for birdie. Schauffele has dropped a shot at the fifth to fall back to two-over.  

And then there were two...

Players under par after Oosthuizen three putts the fourth to drop back to level par. DeChambeau found rough left off the fourth tee, but with a front pin just over a false front it might not be a bad thing to have no backspin worries. 

And after that magic, Wolff misses the par putt

It could have been so much worse. DeChambeau pars and the lead is down to one. Oosthuizen has found the middle of the fourth green and is still hanging tough on one-under. 

What a shot from Wolff on the third

No exaggeration to say his tee shot on the par three was 50 yards left of his target, but Wolff produces a stunning pitch with no room to work with. He had to risk falling short in the bunker, but he landed it perfectly in the fringe before the ball rebounded off a back-stop. Makeable par putt coming up. 

DeChambeau showing poise early on

Another fairway and green found at the second, likewise Wolff. Outside birdie chances coming up. 

Solid start from Oosthuizen

Successive pars for the South African. He is going about his business quietly and might just be the man to sneak up on the rails. 

Back at the first green...

Wolff's birdie putt drifts by but that's a solid start from the leader.

DeChambeau's putt was left all the way, so the lead remains two. A chance gone for DeChambeau. 

At the second, Schauffele has made two magnificent saves to remain at even-par. 

What a reply by Harris English

After his lost ball and double bogey on the first, English has holed a greenside bunker at the second for birdie. That's one shot back. 

Fabulous approaches from the final group at the 1st

DeChambeau and Wolff both his ideally flighted draws right at the flag and will have good looks for birdie. DeChambeau's will be from six to eight feet or so...Wolff from 10 to 12. 

Big miss from Schauffele at the second

Tried to fade his second to a back right pin but hit it gun-barrel straight through the back and quite possibly behind a tree. 

Matsuyama becomes the third player, after Rory and Harris English, to double bogey the first.  Oosthuizen emerged unscathed though, holing a knee-knocker for par. 

The final group tee off

DeChambeau with driver in his hands...and it is a beauty, high and arrow-straight. That was like frozen rope through the air. 

Wolff also pulls driver, and finds his third fairway in 20 holes. No signs of nerves from either player. 

Schauffele gets up and down for par on the first

That is a big moment for him, stays at level par. His playing partner is Harris English who has had something of a disaster though, losing a ball off tee which cost him a double-bogey six. With crowds he may well have found it, but a search party of some 25 people could not locate it. 

McIlroy steadies himself

Got out of position on the second but has chipped up close from the front fringe to surely save his par. 

Oosthuizen and Matsuyama both in good shape off the first...

Only five minutes before the final group get started. Will DeChambeau keep his head?

Update: It was a double bogey for McIlroy

He missed a tiddler for the bogey so is now three-over. 

A poor wedge shot lets McIlroy down

His approach finishes short right of the first green before his chip shot did not have enough gas and rolled back down the false front, almost to his feet. He did get up and down from there but that's a starting bogey. Two-over par now. 

Great start from McIlroy

Finds the right centre of the first fairway and will have no more than a wedge or nine iron in his hands for his second shot. 

Rory McIlroy will tee off in five minutes

I reckon he needs to play the front nine in two-under 33 to give himself a chance. 

What's you prediction for winning score?

Errant driving costs Reed a bogey at the second

An he has missed another green at the par-three third. Webb Simpson started with a par at the first to stay three-over but has missed a fairway at the second. 

Mixed bag for Reed

Opens his account with a birdie at the par-four first but has hit a quick hook into trouble on the second. That shot has dogged him for the last few days. 

77 yesterday for Justin Thomas

Tumbled back to four-over for the tournament. He has started his final round with a par at the first. Patrick Reed, who also went into reverse on the back nine yesterday, will be teeing off in a few minutes. 

History against Rory

Only one player on the course is under par

Of the early starters and tail-end Charlies, Australian Cameron Smith is the only player in the red. He is one-under through 14 holes. 

A former champion at Winged Foot

Some significant tee times to mark your card

5.13 Patrick Reed, Thomas Pieters

5.24 Joaquin Niemann, Webb Simpson

5.35 Lucas Glover, Alex Noren 

5.46 Rafa Cabrera Bello, Viktor Hovland 

5.57 Zach Johnson, Rory McIlroy

6.08 Harris English, Xander Schauffele

6.19 Hideki Matsuama, Louis Oosthuizen

6.30 Bryson DeChambeau, Matt Wolff 

What does the final day have in store for us?

When the players arrived at Winged Foot this week you would have been quoted long odds on one of them producing rounds of 66 and 65 within the first three rounds. Yet US Open leader Matt Wolff has done exactly that. 

The 21-year-old American holds a two-stroke lead over compatriot Bryson Dechambeau and can become the youngest winner of a major championship since Tiger Woods at the 1997 Masters. It would cap off quite the summer for America's young guns following Collin Morikawa's victory at the USPGA Championship. 

Shots can go like confetti in the breeze on the final day of a US Open though, and any player in the top 20 will know they can go close if they produce a round in the 60s. Wolff starts the day on five-under but there are still some judges who have the winning score closer to level par. Wolff hit two fairways out of 14 on Saturday; is that sustainable? 

Louis Oosthuizen has gone quietly about his business and is the only other player in red figures. He regularly features on the toughest courses and is a major champion - winning the Open at St Andrews in 2010. I have doubts about him withstanding the heat of battle though. 

Rory McIlroy is also well placed away from the pressure cooker of the final group at one-over. His ball-striking was exemplary on Saturday, barely putting a foot wrong on his way to a 68. The same score could put him close to a fifth major and second US Open. 

McIlroy said: “I executed the game plan really well, knocked a couple in when I could and yeah, a really good round of golf. If I’m within six going into tomorrow that’s not a lot on this golf course. I feel like I’m right in it.”

McIlroy will begin his round at 5.57 UK time with the leaders off at 6.30