Pavon, DeChambeau, and Finau lead tight U.S. Open at Pinehurst

NORTH CAROLINA: The 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina saw an intense battle for the top spot midway through the third round on Saturday, with Frenchman Matthieu Pavon and Americans Bryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau leading the tightly-packed leaderboard.

Starting the day two strokes behind overnight leader Ludvig Aberg, Pavon surged ahead with a flawless front nine. However, his momentum was halted by a bogey on the par-four 11th, placing him at five-under-par. Pavon’s steady play early on positioned him well among the contenders, but the challenging conditions at Pinehurst No. 2 quickly leveled the field.

Bryson DeChambeau, the 2020 U.S. Open champion, and Tony Finau capitalized on the opportunities provided by the course. DeChambeau, known for his powerful drives and analytical approach to the game, demonstrated consistency, while Finau joined the lead with a well-executed seven-foot birdie putt at the ninth hole.

Close on their heels were Swede Ludvig Aberg and Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy, both sitting just one stroke behind. Aberg, aiming to become the first debutant U.S. Open champion since Francis Ouimet in 1913, started strong with a birdie at the third hole but faltered with bogeys on the fourth and ninth. McIlroy, seeking his fifth major title, remained in contention, showcasing his resilience on the course.

Two strokes off the pace were England’s Tyrrell Hatton and American Patrick Cantlay, who managed to navigate the tricky course with skillful play.

Meanwhile, world number one Scottie Scheffler found Pinehurst No. 2 particularly challenging. For the third consecutive round, Scheffler was unable to break par, carding a one-over 71. Despite his recent dominant form, which included five wins in his last eight starts, Scheffler expressed frustration with his performance, leaving him at six-over and out of the title hunt.(Reuters)

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