Scottie Scheffler reacts after missing a putt on the seventh...

Scottie Scheffler reacts after missing a putt on the seventh hole during the third round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. Credit: AP/Matt York

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

The world No. 1 shot 72 on Sunday, marking the first time in his career he’s finished all four rounds over par at a major championship.

He made the cut on the number, had just four birdies all week, finished 8-over 288 and was never a factor in a tournament he was heavily favored to win. Scheffler won the Masters in April, one of his five PGA Tour victories this year.

Scheffler came in averaging 5.22 birdies per round this season, but could never figure out Pinehurst No. 2’s tricky greens.

“It was a long week,” an exhausted looking Scheffler said as he spoke reporters with his golf shirt untucked following another round in 90-degree heat. “Obviously didn’t play my best. A bit frustrating to end.”

Scheffler pointed to his putting.

“I couldn’t hole anything,” he said. “I could not see the break on these greens. The greens this week kind of had my number. I felt like I hit a lot of really good putts that did weird things at the cup that I was not expecting them to do.”

Neal Shipley watches his tee shot on the third hole...

Neal Shipley watches his tee shot on the third hole during the third round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. Credit: AP/Frank Franklin II

Scheffler said when he returns to Pinehurst the next time it hosts the U.S. Open in 2029, he'll spend more time on the course getting the know the greens. He said the practice greens weren't the same speed.

“It was hard to find something similar” to practice on, Scheffler said. “I’d say that was definitely an added challenge.”

In terms in preparation, Scheffler said it might have more beneficial for him to stay home last week and prepare for the U.S. Open 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’s a tournament I love playing. It’s a tournament that I’m humbled to be the champion at."

Scottie Scheffler watches his tee shot on the 11th hole...

Scottie Scheffler watches his tee shot on the 11th hole during the third round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. Credit: AP/Mike Stewart

Paying 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 carried his familiar silhouette, and special fencing was put up around the 18th green. The hole location there was the same one used that day in 1999, when Stewart made a 15-foot par putt — punctuated by a fist pump — and captured his second U.S. Open and third major championship.

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

“What a memory that was,” said John Bodenhamer, the USGA's chief championships officer. “His wife Tracey and his family are here. His caddie Mike Hicks is here. You may know that. We moved Payne’s statue from behind the 18th green out to Fan Central. Tens of thousands will take pictures with that. It’s wonderful.”

Bryson being Bryson

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

“Essentially we float golf balls in a solution to make sure that the golf ball is not out of balance,” DeChambeau said. “There was a big thing back in the day where golf balls are out of balance, and it’s just because of the manufacturing process. There’s always going to be an error, especially when it’s a sphere and there’s dimples on the edges. You can’t perfectly get it in the center.”

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

“It kind of acts like mud,” DeChambeau said. “If there’s too much weight on one side, you can put it 90 degrees to where the mud is on the right-hand side or the mud is on the left-hand side. I’m using mud as a reference for the weight over there. It’ll fly differently and fly inconsistently. ... It’s one more step that I do to make sure my golf ball flies as straight as it possibly can fly because I’m not that great at hitting it that straight."

Low amateur again

Ohio State’s Neal Shipley edged fellow U.S. Open first-timer Luke Clanton of Florida State to win low amateur, making him the first player to earn those honors at the Masters and the U.S. Open in the same year since Viktor Hovland in 2019.

Shipley shot a 2-over 72 on Sunday and finished at 6-over 286. Clanton had a 5-foot birdie putt to match him, but he missed it to the right and left himself a nearly 5-foot comebacker that he missed. Clanton tapped in for bogey, a closing 74 and an 8-over total.

Shipley had a consistent week, shooting 70 with four birdies on Thursday and following it with rounds of 73, 71 and 72. Clanton had a 76 in the first round before rallying with consecutive 69s, but he bogeyed three of his final four holes on Sunday.

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AP Sports Writers Aaron Beard and Dave Skretta contributed to this report.

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