close
close

World number 1 Scottie Scheffler finishes disappointingly at the US Open with 72, all four rounds above par

BY STEVE REED

PINEHURST, N.C. (AP) — Scottie Scheffler’s final round at the U.S. Open ended much the way his tournament began — with a lack of birdies and plenty of disappointment.

The world number 1 scored 72 on Sunday, marking the first time in his career that he has finished all four rounds above par at a major championship.

He hit the limit, had just four birdies all week, finished 8-over 288 and never figured into a tournament he was the heavy favorite to win. Scheffler won the Masters in April, one of his five PGA Tour victories this year.

Scheffler averaged 5.22 birdies per round this season, but could never figure out the tricky greens of Pinehurst No. 2.

“It’s been a long week,” an exhausted-looking Scheffler said as he addressed reporters with his golf shirt loose after another round in 90-degree heat. “I clearly wasn’t playing my best. A bit frustrating to end.”

Scheffler pointed to his putting.

“I couldn’t pierce anything,” he said. “I couldn’t see the break on these greens. This week’s greens pretty much had my number. I felt like I hit a lot of good putts that did weird things in the cup that I didn’t expect them to do.

Scheffler said when he returns to Pinehurst, the next time the U.S. Open is held there in 2029, he will spend more time on the course getting to know the greens. He said the practice greens didn’t have the same speed.

“It was hard to find something similar” to practice on, Scheffler said. “I would say this was definitely an extra challenge.”

As for preparation, Scheffler said it might be more beneficial for him to stay home and prepare for the U.S. Open last week instead of playing the Memorial, which he won. But he quickly added that he would never want to miss Jack Nicklaus’ tournament.

“I’m obviously not going to skip Jack’s tournament,” Scheffler said. “It is a tournament that I enjoy playing. It is a tournament of which I am honored to be champion.”

A tribute to Payne

The USGA honored Payne Stewart on the 25th anniversary of the late Hall of Famer’s U.S. Open triumph.

The flags for the final round at Pinehurst No. 2 on Sunday bore his familiar silhouette, and special fencing was installed around the 18th green. The hole location there was the same as that day in 1999, when Stewart made a 15-foot par putt — punctuated by a fist pump — to capture his second U.S. Open and third major championship.

Stewart died later that year in a plane crash at the age of 42. His celebration was later commemorated with a bronze statue in Pinehurst.

“What a memory that was,” said USGA Chief Championships Officer John Bodenhamer. ‘His wife Tracey and his family are here. His caddy Mike Hicks is here. You might know that. We moved Payne’s statue from behind the 18th green to Fan Central. Tens of thousands will have their picture taken with it. It’s fantastic.”

Bryson is Bryson

Bryson DeChambeau has never been shy about experimenting with his equipment and finding ways to improve his game, the latest of which is soaking his golf balls in Epsom salt.

“Essentially, we float golf balls in a solution to ensure the golf ball is not out of balance,” DeChambeau said. “There used to be a big problem with golf balls being out of balance, and that was just due to the manufacturing process. There will always be an error, especially if it is a sphere and there are dimples in the edges. You can’t get it perfectly in the middle.”

According to DeChambeau, the heavy side drops to the bottom and he marks the top with a dot.

“It acts a little like mud,” DeChambeau said. “If there’s too much weight on one side, you can rotate it 90 degrees so the mud is on the right or the mud is on the left. I use mud as a reference for the weight there. It will fly differently and inconsistently. … It’s another step I do to make sure my golf ball flies as straight as possible, because I’m not very good at hitting it that straight.

Another lowly amateur

Neal Shipley of Ohio State defeated fellow US Open first-timer Luke Clanton of Florida State to win low amateur, making him the first player to achieve the honor at the Masters and US Open in the same year since Viktor Hovland in 2019.

Shipley shot a 2-over 72 on Sunday to finish at 6-over 286. Clanton had a 6-foot birdie putt to match him, but he missed it to the right, leaving a nearly 6-foot comebacker that he missed. Clanton scored a bogey, a final score of 74 and an 8-over total.

Shipley had a consistent week, shooting 70 with four birdies on Thursday and then rounds of 73, 71 and 72. Clanton had a 76 in the first round before rallying from a straight 69, but on Sunday he made three of his last four holes bogey. .