Fans favourite DeChambeau in command at Pinehurst

Ronan MacNamara

Bryson DeChambeau (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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The stars seem to be aligning for Bryson DeChambeau who gave the crowd thrills and a late spill as he moved three shots clear heading into the final round of the US Open with a swashbuckling performance.

It’s the first time DeChambeau has held a 54-hole lead in a major championship and he stands above Rory McIlroy, Patrick Cantlay and Mathieu Pavon on seven-under at Pinehurst no.2.

Once an alienating character, DeChambeau was seen signing autographs during his third round of 67, interacting with fans, fist pumping and waving as he revelled in his newfound favouritism amongst the fans.

“Yeah, it was amazing. I can’t thank them enough. It was a blessing. Man, they riled me up. It just gives me a spike in my adrenaline and allows me to focus more on delivering for the fans and for myself and for my family. It just inspires me.”

The 2020 US Open winner carded his seventh consecutive round of 69 or lower in major championship play.  He will have a chance to tie the record on Sunday.  Rickie Fowler (8 in row during 2014) and Greg Norman (8, 1993) currently share that record.

Teeing off a couple of shots behind Ludvig Äberg, he made a shaky start, missing a short birdie effort on the par-4 3rd before bogeying the fourth. However, he emerged as the danger man with birdies on the 7th and 9th and he took the lead with birdies on the 10th and 11th.

The 368-yard par-4 13th took a pair of prisoners in Tony Finau and Äberg who both carded potentially championship ending triple bogeys and DeChambeau started to pull clear of the field with a birdie on 14.

Now four clear of McIlroy and the chasing pack, DeChambeau threw everyone a bone with a mess double from the middle of the fairway on 16. He responded brilliantly with a birdie on 17 and an easy two-putt birdie saw him avoid any further disasters.

As McIlroy battled for pars on 11, 13 and 16 to avoid potentially falling five or six shots behind DeChambeau, the American took advantage of some good breaks off the tee, especially on 14 where he made a superb birdie from the right waste area.

“What I did on 14, making a putt and just knowing that I accomplished something under the gun, under a pressure situation. That’s my favorite thing about tournament golf. When that pressure is on and I execute like I know how I can, there’s no better feeling in the world,” added DeChambeau.

Shortly into the back nine, DeChambeau went down with a hip injury and had to receive treatment and he revealed that it is a problem that has been plaguing him in recent weeks.

“Yeah, it was tougher to get through on a couple shots. It’s okay. I’ve had it for a long time now. It’s just something that popped up.

“I’ve been playing a lot of good golf lately, and working on my house, trying to get my house finished, so I haven’t really had time to rest like I want to. The two weeks I had off after PGA, I was really grinding and focusing on some stuff there. I wasn’t really able to rest.

“I’ve just been pushing myself a little bit, pushing the horse a bit. Consequently that’s going to happen. But I’ve got a great team around me to help fix some stuff up. Ryan Overturf is here. Does a bunch of MAT on me, and he’s going to fix me right up.”

DeChambeau looks the overwhelming favourite at present but one stat that will give the trio at four-under and Hideki Matsuyama, Äberg (both -2), and Tyrrell Hatton and Tony Finau (both -1) some hope is that a player has held a three-shot lead entering the final round of the U.S. Open 17 times but has gone on to convert a victory in just 9 of those occasions, including just twice of the last seven chances.

Shane Lowry sits in T32 on plus five after a third round of 70 with major championship debutant Tom McKibbin a shot further back and he will tee it up with world number one Scottie Scheffler.

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