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Rory McIlroy lets US Open slip through fingers as Bryson DeChambeau claims title

Bryson DeChambeau celebrates after winning his second US Open title (Mike Stewart/AP)
Bryson DeChambeau celebrates after winning his second US Open title (Mike Stewart/AP)

Bryson DeChambeau claimed his second US Open title on an extraordinary final day at Pinehurst to heap more major misery on a shellshocked Rory McIlroy.

DeChambeau brilliantly saved par from a fairway bunker on the 72nd hole, but McIlroy will wonder how he let his best chance to end a 10-year wait for a fifth major title slip through his fingers.

Thirteen years after winning his first US Open and maiden major at Congressional – and 3,599 days since winning the 2014 US PGA – McIlroy looked set to finally get back in the winner’s circle when he led by two shots with five holes to play.

However, the Northern Irishman amazingly missed from two feet and six inches for par on the 16th and less than four feet on the 18th to suffer another heartbreaking loss.

Commentating for Sky Sports, six-time major winner Sir Nick Faldo said: “That’s going to haunt Rory for the rest of his life, those two misses.”

Starting the day three shots behind DeChambeau, McIlroy made the ideal start with a birdie from 20 feet on the first and found himself just a shot behind when DeChambeau bogeyed the fourth.

McIlroy was then unfortunate to drop a shot on the par-five fifth after what looked an excellent approach ran off the sloping green into one of the native areas.

From a poor lie, McIlroy chipped into the bunker in front of him and narrowly failed to hole a 20-foot par putt.

McIlroy closed the gap again with a birdie from 15 feet on the ninth, but DeChambeau kept his nose in front with par from a similar distance on the eighth.

A long-range birdie on the par-five 10th took McIlroy into a share of the lead, with Cantlay following him in to stay one behind his Ryder Cup rival.

DeChambeau also birdied the 10th to reclaim the lead and did well to save par on the next after finding trouble off the tee and sand with his approach.

Another long birdie putt on the 12th took McIlroy back alongside DeChambeau on seven under par and with Cantlay dropping a shot on the same hole, it was looking like a two-horse race.

The tee on the par-four 13th had been pushed forward to tempt players to drive the green and McIlroy’s tee shot took a favourable bounce off the grandstand at the back and settled around 20 feet from the putting surface.

From there he chipped to five feet and, after DeChambeau had bogeyed the 12th following another wayward tee shot, McIlroy calmly made his fourth birdie in the space of five holes to open up a two-shot lead.

That lead did not last long though, DeChambeau driving the green on the 13th to set up a two-putt birdie and McIlroy bogeying the 15th for the third day running after failing to get up and down from over the green.

DeChambeau looked to avoid trouble on the same hole after safely finding the green, only to also card a bogey with a clumsy three-putt from 30 feet.

That gifted McIlroy a one-shot lead but he lost it immediately after amazingly missing from inside three feet – for the first time all season after 496 successful putts – for par on the 16th.

DeChambeau narrowly missed birdie putts on the 16th and 17th but McIlroy missed another short par putt on the 18th and DeChambeau sealed victory in style, hitting a stunning 55-yard bunker shot and holding his nerve to convert the par putt for a remarkable win.

Unsurprisingly McIlroy was not in the mood to speak to the media and was seen immediately getting into his courtesy car and leaving the course.

Speaking at the presentation ceremony after a closing 71 and six under par total, with McIlroy a shot behind and Cantlay and Tony Finau on four under, DeChambeau said: “I want to say Happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s out there.
“Unfortunately my dad passed a couple of years ago and this one is for him.

“I can’t believe that up and down on the last, that was probably the best shot of my life. That’s huge to get up and down and win this prestigious championship – that will be the highlight of my life.”

DeChambeau has proved a hugely popular figure this season and he praised the fans who had supported him all week.

“You are the best fans in the world and I can’t thank you enough. I want you guys to all somehow touch this trophy tonight and be part of the after party.”