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U.S. Open Day 3 Winners, Losers: Bryson DeChambeau dominates, can Rory McIlroy win?

Pinehurst Course No. 2 has once again proven itself a worthy U.S. Open venue, testing the world’s best players, punishing poor shots and rewarding good ones.

That leaves just eight players in the red after 54 holes, with Bryson DeChambeau leading at seven under par. He’s three strokes ahead of Rory McIlroy, Mathieu Pavon and Patrick Cantlay and is bidding for his second major championship. DeChambeau won the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in September 2020, during the pandemic.

After a fun day in Pinehurst, here are the winners and losers for North Carolina:


Bryson DeChambeau’s Game

Bryson DeChambeau entertained the golf world all day Saturday with his clutch putts, his 350-yard drive, his amazing shot out of the sand on the 13th hole, Great approach on the 14th hole The total was 3-under 67.

He looks like one of the best golfers in the world, relying on his power and short-game finesse to take a commanding lead on Sunday. He stumbled for a double bogey on the 16th hole, but DeChambeau was unfazed. He got a birdie back on the 17th thanks to an ultra-aggressive line off the tee.

But every hole DeChambeau plays, birdie or bogey, is must-see television. He’s the most entertaining golfer on the planet, and that’s why his popularity has skyrocketed.

After all, if he can shoot another score in the 60s on Sunday, the U.S. Open will be his.

DeChambeau’s ball

Bryson DeChambeau apparently soaks his golf balls in Epsom salts before every round, and when a reporter asked him about it after the round, DeChambeau’s response regarding his balls was priceless.

“Thanks for the question about the salted balls. That’s correct. I soak my golf balls in Epsom salts. Luckily my manager, Conor, does that now so I don’t have to, but basically I’m floating the golf ball in a solution so it doesn’t get unbalanced,” DeChambeau explained.

“In the past, there was a big problem with golf balls being out of balance, but that was because of the manufacturing process. There’s always a margin of error, especially with a sphere and it has an indentation on the edge. You can’t get the ball perfectly centered. So what I do is look at the ball’s imbalance – how off-balance it is. A heavy slide floats at the bottom, and I put a dot on the top to make sure the ball always rolls.”

Quote CBS Sports reporter Kyle Porter’s mantra“Normal Sports”.

Can Rory McIlroy do it?

Rory McIlroy’s decade-long drought without a major tournament is well-known. But what surprises me about McIlroy, at least this time around, is that he’s back in the running to qualify for the U.S. Open for the sixth straight year. Despite his feud with LIV Golf, his dreams of a World Tour and, most importantly, uncertainty in his family life surrounding a possible divorce, McIlroy still has a chance to win his second U.S. Open.

Rory McIlroy shakes hands with Tony Finau after the third round of the 2024 U.S. Open.
Photo: Alex Slits/Getty Images

On Saturday, he shot a 1-under 69 despite two bogeys late in the round that halted his momentum. But anything can happen on this golf course, and McIlroy knows it. He’s also feeling pretty confident heading into the fourth round. Plus, he hits his driver as well as anyone, so if he can just improve his irons a little bit, he should have a chance at the end.

All of this gives McIlroy, and golf fans around the world, hope — and hope is a great medicine.


Tony Finau and Ludwig Auberg

At the 13th hole, their chances all but ended as Tony Finau and Ludvig Øberg made triple bogeys on the short par-4.

Both players were playing a “ping-pong” game, chipping back and forth across the green, and were now out of contention for the championship. If either finished with a bogey, they would still have a chance to win their first major title on Sunday. But a triple bogey is an irreparably damaging score. Finau is now six strokes behind DeChambeau, and Oberg, who leads after 36 holes, is five strokes behind.

For this reason, Golf Channel’s Johnson Wagner After the round, he analyzed the hole on “Live From the U.S. Open.”

Scottie Schaeffler

Scottie Scheffler played much better on Saturday.

But the third round was full of “what ifs.” The doubts mostly came down to his putter, with Scheffler unable to drop a putt all day. He had plenty of chances to move up the rankings, but a flat stick prevented it. So the world number one had to settle for a one-over 71, even though he could have easily finished in the mid-60s.

Scottie Scheffler, US Open

Scottie Scheffler during the third round.
Photo: Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

Pace of Play

Oh my goodness. The final two groups played at a snail’s pace, with Patrick Cantlay and Bryson DeChambeau being the main culprits. Cantlay is notoriously slow, and has been for some time. Just ask Brooks Koepka.

Likewise, DeChambeau, who needed to push himself on the 11th hole, likes to take his time. His scientific, mathematical approach to golf means DeChambeau has to analyze every shot he takes, even putts inside 18 inches.

Therefore, the United States Golf Association (USGA) should have imposed penalties — and even more so than they reportedly issued warnings to DeChambeau and Oberg, who flew around the golf course. Pace of play was an issue, especially considering DeChambeau’s pair (the final pair) finished nearly 45 minutes slower than McIlroy’s pair, who played third-to-last.

Jack Mirko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation Playing Through. Follow For more golf articles, follow us on Twitter Jack Mirko In the same way.