Rory McIlroy admitted he was surprised by the manner of Bryson DeChambeau's six-stroke victory at the U.S Open as the former world number one hinted at another big Masters win for the powerful American.

DeChambeau claimed his maiden major crown following a dominant display at Winged Foot, where he carded a final-round 67 to top the leaderboard ahead of overnight leader Matthew Wolff on Sunday.

A topic of discussion on the PGA Tour after his weight gain and smash approach, DeChambeau only hit six fairways on the final day and 23 for the week in New York as he was the only player in the red following 72 holes.

"I don't really know what to say because that's just the complete opposite of what you think a U.S. Open champion does," four-time major champion McIlroy, who finished tied for eighth at six over, told reporters. "Look, he's found a way to do it.

"Whether that's good or bad for the game, I don't know, but it's not the way I saw this golf course being played or this tournament being played. It's kind of hard to really wrap my head around it."

"I played with him at Colonial [the Charles Schwab Challenge] the first week back out, but I sort of said, okay, wait until he gets to a proper golf course, he'll have to rein it back in," continued McIlroy, who closed the tournament with a five-over-par 75.

"This is as proper as they come, and look what's happened. Yeah, he's got full belief in what he's doing, and it's pretty impressive."

Asked if he was concerned ahead of the rescheduled Masters at Augusta in November, McIlroy said: "I don't shudder, but if he can do it around here, and I'm thinking of Augusta and thinking of the way you sort of play there.

"I stood up here a few weeks ago and said the game's moved on a lot in the last 14 years since the U.S. Open's been played here, and you're seeing what the game has become, what he's doing out there."

"I think it's brilliant," McIlroy said. "But I think he's taken advantage of where the game is at the minute. Look, again, whether that's good or bad, but it's just the way it is. With the way he approaches it, with the arm-lock putting, with everything, it's just where the game's at right now.

"I'm not saying that's right or wrong. He's just taking advantage of what we have right now."

Bryson DeChambeau clinched his maiden major title after a strong final round at the U.S. Open on Sunday.

The American was the only player in the red on his final round as a three-under 67 propelled him to a dominant six-stroke victory at Winged Foot.

Making his 16th major start, DeChambeau, 27, closed out a win as the rest of the field, particularly overnight leader Matthew Wolff, struggled at the tough course in New York.

Wolff battled to a five-over 75 in the final round, but it was enough to finish outright second at even par.

DeChambeau, whose win marked his seventh on the PGA Tour, had struggled at majors since his debut in 2015, securing his first top-10 finish earlier this year at the US PGA Championship.

Much of the talk around DeChambeau earlier this year centred on his weight gain, but he has been in fine form since the season restarted in June amid the coronavirus pandemic.

His U.S. Open victory is his second win since the campaign resumed, while he has four other top-10 finishes.

Wolff's two-stroke overnight lead disappeared quickly before he traded eagle putts with DeChambeau on the ninth.

DeChambeau holed a 39-footer and Wolff responded with a much shorter effort to be a stroke behind heading onto the back nine.

But that would be as close as Wolff would get from that point, DeChambeau pulling further ahead with a birdie at 11 after the 21-year-old bogeyed the 10th.

Whatever slim hope Wolff, bidding to become the first tournament debutant to win the U.S. Open since 1913, had disappeared with another bogey at 14 and a double at 16 as DeChambeau parred out.

A one-time winner on the PGA Tour, Wolff gave up a three-stroke lead heading into the final round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic in July, when DeChambeau was also victorious.

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open Championship winner, finished third at two over after his 73.

Harris English (73) was a shot further back and ahead of Xander Schauffele (74), while world number one Dustin Johnson carded a 70 to finish in a tie for sixth.

After his opening-round 65 put him in a strong position, Justin Thomas (72) ended up tied for eighth at six over alongside the likes of Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy double-bogeyed the first hole and was not able to recover as he fired a 75.

Matthew Wolff equalled a U.S. Open record and is on track to make further history after taking a two-stroke lead in the third round.

Wolff carded a five-under 65 on Saturday, equalling the lowest round produced at Winged Foot at a U.S. Open.

The 21-year-old American blitzed the front nine in New York, making five birdies before a consistent back nine included a bogey and birdie.

Wolff's round came after hitting just two of 14 fairways, but he reached five under and a two-shot lead.

His 65 matched the round Justin Thomas managed on Thursday to set the record at Winged Foot.

If he wins, Wolff would become the first player to claim the U.S. Open on tournament debut since Francis Ouimet in 1913.

Bryson DeChambeau (70) sits second at three under and Louis Oosthuizen (68) is the only other player under par at one under.

DeChambeau opened his round with back-to-back bogeys before picking up a shot at the seventh.

The American then made birdies at 16 and 17, but could only manage a bogey at the par-four 18th.

Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open Championship winner, is also in contention after mixing four birdies with two bogeys.

Hideki Matsuyama (70), Xander Schauffele (70) and Harris English (72) are at even par, a shot ahead of Rory McIlroy (68).

But it was a forgettable third round, and in particular back nine, for overnight leader Patrick Reed.

The 2018 Masters champion was one under through nine holes before falling apart to shoot a 77 and sit at three over, tied for 11th.

Reed bogeyed six of his final nine holes and had a double bogey at the 11th, where he struggled to recover from the rough.

Thomas is at four over, while world number one Dustin Johnson was again unable to get much going, shooting a 72 to be at five over.

Rory McIlroy believes he can challenge for the U.S. Open title on Sunday, saying a third-round 68 has given him "a pretty good shot".

The Northern Irishman began on Thursday with a three-under 67 but turned his numbers around in the second round when a 76 looked to have scuppered his hopes.

On Saturday, moving day at Winged Foot, McIlroy had three birdies and just one dropped shot in the kind of solid performance he would sign for again in the final round.

Four-time major winner McIlroy, who was 22 years old when he won the 2011 U.S. Open, was back on the leaderboard.

On a course where American Matthew Wolff, just 21, was setting the pace, McIlroy was sensing the rekindling of a real opportunity this week.

"Overall 68 out there is a really good score," he said. "I don't know where that's going to leave me at the end of the day, but I'm feeling pretty good that I've got a good chance going into [Sunday]."

At one over par, McIlroy was watching the scoreboard to see where Wolff would finish the day.

A startling 30 on the front nine took Wolff to five under par for the tournament at one stage.

"No matter where I am at the end of the day, I feel like I've got a pretty good shot," McIlroy said.

"You know, it doesn't take much around here ... someone gets off to a decent start, maybe one or two under through five and then the leader goes the other way, one or two over through five, and all of a sudden you're right in the thick of things."

Asked what conditions he would want on Sunday, McIlroy said: "It's sort of a double-edged sword, right, because you would think that you'd want tougher conditions because it'll make it more difficult for the guys in front of you, but it also makes it more difficult for yourself.

"I think looking at the forecast, the conditions are going to be pretty similar to today, which is fine. If I go out there tomorrow and shoot another 68, I won't be too far away."

He was full of admiration for Wolff's front nine, describing his scoring as "awesome golf".

Patrick Reed is the man to beat at the halfway mark of the U.S. Open after earning a one-shot lead in his pursuit of a second major title, while Tiger Woods was among the big names who failed to qualify for the weekend.

Reed – the 2018 Masters champion – carded an even-par-70 to move top of the leaderboard through two rounds in tricky conditions at Winged Foot Golf Club on Friday.

American golfer Reed was a stroke behind overnight leader and countryman Justin Thomas heading into day two in New York, where the rescheduled major is taking place behind closed doors amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Reed, who made a memorable hole-in-one in the opening round, replaced Thomas atop the standings thanks to a mixed day, which included five birdies and as many bogeys.

A controversial figure on the PGA Tour following accusations of cheating during last year's Hero World Challenge, Reed started on the back nine and birdied his second hole but had three bogeys in a five-hole stretch – that also included another birdie – approaching the turn.

Reed tallied two birdies and two bogeys before closing his round with a birdie at the last to end the day four under and ahead of surging American Bryson DeChambeau (68), who improved 12 positions.

Rafa Cabrera Bello (70), Harris English (70) and former world number one Thomas (73) are tied for third and two shots off the pace heading into Saturday's third round.

Thomas set the record for the lowest score posted in a U.S. Open at Winged Foot with a first-round 65, but he was unable to repeat the feat on a tough day.

Jon Rahm (72) closed the round one over through 36 holes, while world number one and FedEx Cup champion Dustin Johnson (70) is two strokes worse off following back-to-back rounds in the 70s.

Johnson – the 2016 winner – is three over alongside four-time major champion Rory McIlroy, who endured a forgettable round following a six-over-par 76.

In contention after round one, Northern Irish star McIlroy – seeking his first major trophy since 2014 – fell 17 positions on the back of a double bogey, seven bogeys and just three birdies.

As for Woods, he missed the cut and the 15-time major winner was not alone as defending champion Gary Woodland (74), Jordan Spieth (81) and Phil Mickelson (74) also fell short of the six-over line.

Three-time U.S. Open champion Woods finished with a score of 10 over after shooting a second-round 77, which included two double bogeys and five bogeys.

It was a horrible day for 2015 champion Spieth, whose woes continued as he bowed out at 14 over after going through the second round without a birdie, instead holding a double bogey and nine bogeys.

Justin Thomas set the early pace at the U.S. Open, where a record-breaking five-under-par 65 gave the former world number one a one-shot lead following the opening round.

Three straight birdies from the ninth and another at the last helped take Thomas to the top of the leaderboard with the lowest score recorded in a U.S. Open at Winged Foot, surpassing the previous low of 66.

Thomas – the 2017 US PGA Championship winner – ended the first day ahead of Patrick Reed, Thomas Pieters and Matthew Wolff in New York on Thursday.

A course usually renowned for its thick rough and brutal greens, Winged Foot's West Course was surprisingly forgiving for the start of the rescheduled 120th U.S. Open amid the coronavirus pandemic, hence some of the low scores and the fact Thomas reached 14 of the 18 greens in regulation.

Former Masters champion Reed will hope to remain in contention heading into the weekend after ending day one just a shot back – the American's 66 helped by a hole-in-one at the par-three seventh, the ball taking just one bounce before sinking.

Reed was not the only player to ace the seventh, however. Will Zalatoris repeated the feat later, with Wolff also coming agonisingly close in a remarkable series of events.

Despite the disappointment of missing out on that ace, Wolff impressed and dragged himself into the frame with a run of three successive birdies after beginning the back nine with a bogey.

Pieters is right there on Thomas' tail as well thanks to his round of 66 – a best ever opening score in a major for the Belgian, who closed out the day with a birdie that moved him above Rory McIlroy on three under.

Four-time major champion and 2011 U.S. Open winner McIlroy, who has not added to his haul of majors since 2014, had four birdies and a solitary bogey in a promising start, while Jon Rahm opened with a 69.

But it was a day to forget for some of the big hitters, who will now require strong second rounds.

Defending champion Gary Woodland is at four over, a shot worse off than world number one and FedEx Cup winner Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods, with the latter – a three-time U.S. Open champion – finishing with a bogey and double bogey on the last two holes.

After a front-nine one-under-par 34, American golfer Woodland played the back nine in five over for an opening-round 74.

It was a miserable start for five-time major champion Phil Mickelson, who will enter the second round nine over – while US PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa was three shots better off.

Rory McIlroy benefited from playing in a relaxed manner as he began the U.S. Open with a strong three-under 67.

The former world number one has not won a major since 2014, with his recent struggles often coming in the early rounds, but that was not the case on Thursday.

An impressive showing at the usually tricky Winged Foot took McIlroy to within two strokes of clubhouse leader Justin Thomas by mid-afternoon on day one, with Patrick Reed second on four under.

Four-time major champion McIlroy acknowledged he had taken a different approach this week and it was paying off.

"It's just golf," he said. "But maybe I've been putting myself under too much pressure to get off to a good start. In the first round of a major, you're always anxious to play well. Maybe I've overthought it at times.

"I just went out today, took what was given to me, a little more relaxed, and played really nicely."

McIlroy added: "I think at a U.S. Open, if you can get off to a good start, you're not chasing as much. If you chase on U.S. Open golf courses, that's when you can start to make mistakes and compound your errors a little bit.

"To have that cushion, to be a little more relaxed about your play, not to take on too much, be able to still play conservative golf... I think that's important here."

McIlroy finished with four birdies and just a single bogey but still felt he might have performed even better.

"I three-putted for par on six. There was a couple of other chances I let slip by," he said. "There were chances there to sneak another two or three out of the round.

"But at the same time, 67 here is always going to be a good score."

Indeed, he bristled at the suggestion low scores from the leading players meant the often high-scoring course was now "scoreable".

"JT shot five, Patrick four, myself three, but then after that, if you shoot even par, you're just outside the top 10," McIlroy said.

"I wouldn't call it scoreable by any stretch of the imagination.

"A couple of guys have gone a bit lower than expected, but it's not as if the rest of the field are finding it that easy."

Rory McIlroy hopes to end his extended wait for a major title at the U.S. Open, but the former world number one is not placing too much pressure on himself as he puts things into perspective after becoming a father.

McIlroy is off diaper duty for this week's rescheduled U.S. Open, which gets underway at Winged Foot Golf Club in New York amid the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday.

The 31-year-old Northern Irish star has not added to his four major trophies since 2014, when he claimed both the US PGA Championship and Open Championship.

McIlroy finished tied for 33rd at this year's PGA Championship, while he was unable to defend his Tour Championship and FedEx Cup titles last week as Dustin Johnson reigned supreme.

"Yeah, for sure. I think if anything, if you've looked at my major championship performances over the last few years, I've just gotten off to slow starts," McIlroy told reporters when asked if he had analysed his major struggles.

"I probably just put a little too much pressure on myself going into tournaments. And from there, shooting a bad score on the first day and putting yourself under even more pressure from there to just make it to the weekend, and then to try to play catch-up. I think that's been the big thing.

"When I start tournaments well, I seem to stay up there. I started Pebble last year with a nice score and stayed up there for the most part. I didn't quite finish the week the way I wanted to. But that's been the big thing for me. If I can start and put a good solid round together on a Thursday, I'm usually right there."

While McIlroy is eyeing major glory, defeat would sit slightly easier with the 2011 U.S. Open champion following the birth of his first child.

Asked if fatherhood had relaxed him, McIlroy said: "I think so. I think it just puts things in perspective a little bit. Not that this it matters to me and I care about it very much, but at the same time, it makes the hard days a little easier to get over, right. And I'm not saying that I want to have hard days to get over, but yeah, you're a little more relaxed.

"When I say it's not the be-all and end-all, it's a major championship and I've grown up my whole life dreaming of winning these tournaments, and that's not going to change, but if it doesn't quite happen, I can live with that and go home and be very happy and leave what's happened at the golf course at the golf course.

"I think that's maybe something that I haven't done so well in the past is I haven't left my job at the office basically, I've brought it home with me, and I've let it affect my mood and how I am. I think having that little bit more perspective definitely helps."

McIlroy added: "I actually changed the first two diapers, so I'm very proud of that. But yeah, I've got my hands dirty; put it that way."

World number one Dustin Johnson will tee off at the 2020 U.S. Open on Thursday in a star-studded group with Bryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau.

Johnson, whose solitary major triumph came at this event in 2016, has returned to the rankings summit following a stunning run of form on the PGA Tour.

The 36-year-old has claimed three tournament wins, including the TOUR Championship, to land him a maiden FedExCup and the PGA Tour Player of the Year Award.

Johnson is the favourite to lift the trophy at Winged Foot this week and will be alongside American compatriots DeChambeau and Finau, who are each seeking their first major title.

That headline group goes out at 1:16PM (local time).

Two-time winner Brooks Koepka is absent as he seeks full fitness, while reigning champion Gary Woodland will compete alongside 2019 Open winner Shane Lowry and amateur Andy Ogletree.

Tiger Woods, who has his name on the silverware three times, will feature in a trio with US PGA victor Collin Morikawa and Justin Thomas.

Rory McIlroy's pursuit of a fifth major will see him tee off in a group featuring Adam Scott and Justin Rose. 

Spain's Jon Rahm, also considered a leading contender for glory, is in a threesome with Phil Mickelson, who needs this major to complete the set, and Paul Casey.

 

 

Dustin Johnson claimed his maiden FedEx Cup title after a three-stroke victory at the Tour Championship on Monday.

The in-form American carded a two-under 68 in the final round at East Lake to close out his victory and win the $15million prize.

Johnson finished at 21 under, three strokes clear of Justin Thomas (66) and Xander Schauffele (66).

World number one Johnson was in incredible form to end the season, finishing as runner-up at the US PGA Championship and BMW Championship, either side of his huge win at the Northern Trust.

He carried that run into Atlanta, where he posted three rounds in the 60s, including a solid Monday that featured four birdies and two bogeys.

Johnson started with three birdies on his first six holes before dropping shots at seven and eight, but a consistent back nine was sealed with a gain at the last.

His FedEx Cup crown adds to his 2016 U.S. Open title, while the Tour Championship win marked his 23rd success on the PGA Tour.

While Thomas, the 2017 FedEx Cup winner, and Schauffele finished tied for second, Jon Rahm (66) ended up outright fourth at 17 under.

Scottie Scheffler (65) finished three shots further back and one ahead of US PGA winner Collin Morikawa (69).

After a promising start, Rory McIlroy – who became a father last week – finished in a tie for eighth.

The defending champion opened with a 64 but rounds of 71 and 70 saw him fall out of contention before he closed with a 67.

Dustin Johnson moved a step closer to claiming the FedEx Cup title after extending his Tour Championship lead to five strokes.

World number one Johnson carded a six-under-par 64 in the third round to seize control at the FedEx Cup play-off finale on Sunday.

FedEx Cup leader and Northern Trust winner Johnson, who is yet to claim the PGA Tour's championship trophy, started his penultimate round with a one-shot lead.

By the end of the day, Johnson – a runner-up in two of his last three starts – surged clear thanks to seven birdies and just one bogey at East Lake.

After a flawless front nine featuring three birdies, American star Johnson gained a further four strokes following the turn, including the last to be 19 under through 54 holes, while bogeying the 11th.

Johnson's nearest rivals are last year's Tour Championship runner-up and 2017 winner Xander Schauffele, and 2017 FedEx Cup champion Justin Thomas.

Schauffele posted a third-round 67, while fellow American Thomas had an eagle, five birdies and three bogeys for a four-under-par 66.

World number two and BMW Championship winner Jon Rahm – second to Johnson in the FedEx Cup race – is outright fourth after shooting a 66 to be 13 under, while Collin Morikawa is a stroke further back.

Daniel Berger (64) and Im Sung-jae (72) are tied for sixth, ahead of Scottie Scheffler (66).

Reigning FedEx Cup champion and Tour Championship holder Rory McIlroy is 11 shots off the pace heading into the final round.

McIlroy, who recently became a father, lost further ground following his second consecutive round in the 70s – an even-par 70, which included three bogeys and as many birdies.

Dustin Johnson moved a stroke clear at the halfway stage of the Tour Championship, where defending champion Rory McIlroy lost ground.

FedEx Cup leader and world number one Johnson carded an even-par 70 to claim the outright lead at 13 under through 36 holes in Atlanta on Saturday.

Johnson was tied for the lead alongside world number two and BMW Championship winner Jon Rahm heading into the second round at East Lake.

But Northern Trust champion Johnson stood alone atop the leaderboard in the FedEx Cup play-off finale following four birdies and four bogies on a mixed day as Rahm could only shoot a 74.

Johnson – a runner-up in two of his last three starts – went 13 holes without hitting from the fairway, but the American star still managed to earn a slim lead, ahead of South Korea's Im Sung-jae.

Im, who is looking to become the second youngest winner of the FedEx Cup, birdied three of his last four holes for a six-under-par 64.

Last year's Tour Championship runner-up and 2017 winner Xander Schauffele is two shots adrift after reeling off three consecutive birdies late in the round.

Justin Thomas (71) – the 2017 FedEx Cup champion – is a stroke further back, while Collin Morikawa (65), Tyrrell Hatton (66) and Rahm are nine under heading into the third round.

After producing the equal best round of the opening day, four-time major champion McIlroy was unable to replicate his exploits following a one-over-par 71.

FedEx Cup and Tour Championship titleholder McIlroy, who recently became a father, struggled as the former world number one bogeyed three holes, including the last.

McIlroy's woes were highlighted by a shot that found water, when he tried to reach the 18th green from the thick rough but the ball went into the bottom of the lake.

Rory McIlroy admitted he was surprised to make such a good start to the Tour Championship just days after becoming a father.

McIlroy welcomed the arrival of his first child with wife Erica, with daughter Poppy born on Monday.

Just days later, the Northern Irishman produced the equal best opening round at East Lake, shooting a six-under 64 to be outright fourth, four shots behind Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm.

The 31-year-old said his performance in Atlanta was a surprise given the past week.

"Yeah, a little bit," McIlroy said when asked if he was surprised he played so well.

"It just shows you golf is such a mental game, and if you come in with low expectations, that's always how I've played well.

"Whether I don't feel like my game is in a good place or I'm not the favourite coming into a tournament, all that stuff, I feel like that's when I usually play my best and I can play with a bit of freedom, and that's what I did."

Last year's FedEx Cup and Tour Championship winner, McIlroy mixed eight birdies with two bogeys in the first round.

Still, McIlroy said he had other things on his mind on Friday.

"It's like every three hours she [Poppy] is supposed to be fed, so I'm like, okay, there's a feeding coming up," he said.

"But like it's natural. It's natural that in between shots you think about other things, and obviously my mind has been very much on what's going on at home.

"But it is nice to have this little four or five hours to myself to concentrate on my game and sort of get into this stuff.

"I played well. I played really well. I played as good as I have in a long time, and that was very encouraging."

Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm share the lead after the Tour Championship first round as Rory McIlroy made a strong start.

Johnson, the FedEx Cup leader ahead of the season-ending event, carded a three-under 67 in the opening round at East Lake on Friday.

The American started the tournament atop the leaderboard at 10 under, but his lead is already gone in Atlanta.

Johnson is joined at 13 under by Rahm, who opened with a 65 just days after his incredible win at the BMW Championship.

Rahm beat Johnson in a thrilling play-off at Olympia Fields Country Club and the stars are placed to battle for the $15million prize.

Johnson was even through 11 holes before making birdies at 12, 13 and 15, while Rahm also found form on the back nine with four birdies in five holes beginning at 12.

Justin Thomas, third when the event started, is still in that place after a four-under 66, sitting two strokes back.

But defending FedEx Cup champion McIlroy produced the equal best round of the day to charge into contention.

The Northern Irishman fired a six-under 64 that included three straight birdies to finish as he moved into nine under.

McIlroy came from fifth in the overall standings to win the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup last year.

The other player to shoot a 64 was Abraham Ancer, who climbed into seven under and outright fifth.

Runner-up to McIlroy last year, Xander Schauffele (67) is tied for sixth at six under, alongside Brendon Todd (67), Im Sung-jae (68) and Webb Simpson (70).

Marc Leishman (66), Tyrrell Hatton (67), Lanto Griffin (67) and Daniel Berger (69) are a shot further back.

US PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa fell back to a tie for 14th after a 71, while Bryson DeChambeau is tied for 18th after his 72.

Rory McIlroy announced on the eve of the Tour Championship he has become a father for the first time with the birth of his daughter Poppy Kennedy.

Four-time major winner McIlroy revealed on social media that this wife, Erica, gave birth in Florida on Monday.

McIlroy's participation in this week's lucrative tournament has been in doubt after he stated during the BMW Championship last week he would be "out of here" if he was on the golf course when his wife went into labor.

The Tour Championship gets under way at East Lake Golf Course on Friday and Northern Irishman McIlroy is still listed to tee off as defending champion.

McIlroy announced the new arrival on social media on Thursday, posting: "Poppy Kennedy McIlroy, born August 31st, 12:15pm. 

"She is the absolute love of our lives. Mother and baby are doing great.

"Massive thank you to all the staff at Jupiter Medical Center and Dr Sasha Melendy for their amazing care."

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