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US Open 2024: Bryson DeChambeau leads Rory McIlroy and Patrick Cantlay by three

Bryson DeChambeau

There is always theatre when DeChambeau tees up and his popularity was evident when a birdie at the 10th brought the outright lead, two huge fist pumps and a wall of noise from the fans.

The American, who plays on the LIV Golf circuit, moved two shots clear with another birdie at the next hole and, if he felt pressure, it did not show as he cheerfully waved to the crowd walking down the 12th fairway.

He then engaged with the supporters flanking the tee box at the short par-four 13th, discussing going for the green with his caddie before deciding better of it and telling the fans: “Don’t boo me, I’m sorry.”

It was an example of his distinctive and refreshing approach to the sport but moments later he pushed his tee shot into a fairway bunker.

Rather than it unravelling his round though, it seemed to galvanise him as he flushed his next shot to inside seven feet and just missed out on birdie. He then found a birdie on the next hole to extend his lead.

“It was amazing – I can’t thank them enough,” DeCheambeau said of the support he received. “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, for myself and for my family. It just inspires me.”

Just when he threatened to run away with the tournament, a sloppy chip and a wayward bogey putt at 16 cost him two shots and brought the field back into contention.

It was a more muted celebration when he immediately bounced back with birdie at the 17th to extend his lead to three shots.

All this happened while he was seemingly battling injury. He called for a physiotherapist towards the start of his back nine and received some treatment before pummelling a drive 350 yards.

When DeChambeau won at Winged Foot four years ago, he came from two back after 54 holes to win by six.

And he has shown good form in the majors this year, with a joint sixth at the Masters and second at last month’s US PGA Championship.

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Written by Joseph

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