‘Shot of my life’ helps lift DeChambeau to second US Open title

By Jim SLATER

Bryson DeChambeau, needing to get up and down from a bunker at 18 to win, delivered one of his greatest shots Sunday and sank a tension-packed putt to win the US Open.

DeChambeau, having already escaped disaster once at Pinehurst’s final hole, blasted a 55-yard bunker shot to four feet and rolled in the clutch putt to capture his second US Open crown.

“That bunker shot was the shot of my life,” DeChambeau said. “I’m so happy I got that shot up-and-down on 18. It’s a dream come true.”

Playing partner Matthieu Pavon, a Frenchman who finished fifth, was even more impressed as he watched DeChambeau’s shot hold firm on a lightning-fast sloped green that had sent balls rolling away from the hole all week.

“He just played like unbelievable,” Pavon said. “At that time with the pressure he had at that moment, it is just one of the best shots in golf history.”

DeChambeau, who also won the 2020 US Open, had everything on the line after Rory McIlroy squandered a two-stroke lead with three bogeys in the last four holes, the last on a four-foot par putt miss at 18.

DeChambeau, runner-up at last month’s PGA Championship by a stroke, didn’t want to be denied again.

“Oh, man, I didn’t want to finish second again. PGA really stung,” he said. “I wanted to get this one done.

“As much as it is heartbreaking for some people, it was heartbreak for me at the PGA. I really wanted this one.”

He got it thanks to patience and perseverance, with some boost from his caddie, Gregory Bodine, in a moment DeChambeau said he would always remember.

“My caddie telling me you can do it on 18 out of that bunker. Greg telling me, You got this shot. I’ve seen way harder shots pulled off from you,” DeChambeau said.

“G-Bo just said, ‘Bryson, just get it up-and-down. That’s all you’ve got to do. You’ve done this plenty of times before. I’ve seen some crazy shots from you from 50 yards out of a bunker.’

“And I had an amazing up and down at the last.”

When McIlroy opened the door to victory for DeChambeau, he was in the left weeds trying to hit despite a root.

“I was actually concerned I might hurt myself getting out of that,” DeChambeau said. “I was trying to run it left of that bunker, run it up the green, give myself a 2-putt.

“I had no backswing. I’m just like, OK, I have to hack it. Hopefully it will go down the line, but it didn’t. It cut and it went into the bunker, one of the worst places I could have been.

“There’s a lot of luck that has to happen and go your way out there. I knew if I could give my 100% effort on every single shot, I’d give myself a good chance.”

– Win for dad and Payne –
After a four-year wait for his second major, DeChambeau said he knows the near-miss will motivate McIlroy.

“I’m sure it will fuel Rory’s fire even more. He’s a strong-minded individual,” DeChambeau said. “Rory is going to do it. I’d love to have a lot more battles with him.”

He hopes not to fall two behind with five holes to play in those.

“I’m like, ‘Oh man, he’s gunning, he’s going for it.’ So I had to put my foot on the pedal and push down pretty hard as well,” DeChambeau said of his duel with McIlroy. “It definitely pushed me. Seeing him ahead allowed me to focus a little bit more.”

Also helping DeChambeau find his focus were memories of his late father and Payne Stewart, whose 1999 US Open victory at Pinehurst just months before his death was in his thoughts all week.

“Every time I got over the ball, just focus. You’ve done this before. You can do it again,” DeChambeau said.

“In the back of my mind, my dad pushing me. Payne was in the back of my mind, as well. I wanted to do it for them.”

Agence France-Presse

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