It's all come down to this, the final round of the 124th U.S. Open awaits as Bryson DeChambeau holds a three-shot lead

The game of trying to predict what will or won't happen at Major championship is a sport in itself, but it gets even harder when faced with a U.S. Open or U.S. Women's Open course set-up.

Players that appear to be in form fall by the wayside (e.g. Scottie Scheffler and Nelly Korda), whilst players that appear to have been struggling rise to the top (e.g Patrick Cantlay and Yuka Saso). Of course, if you've got more than one pick, you're likely to get a hit. In our case, it was Rory McIlroy, who lies just three shots off the lead in a tie for second, and for others, it will have been Bryson DeChambeau.

As far as Majors go, the American is like a man reborn. The smash-and-grab approach has been toned down, don't get me wrong, he still makes light work of any par five hole when it comes to length off the tee. The intensity he used to show, seems to have mellowed a lot. Maybe it's the move to LIV (with lots of cash in the bank) or maybe it's just that he's done a lot of growing up in recent years.

DeChambeau holds a three-shot lead

The 30-year-old heads into the final round at Pinehurst in search of his second U.S. Open title with a three shot lead at seven-under-par, after an impressive three-under-par 67. It could have been four shots if it weren't for a late double-bogey on 16 on Saturday.

Bryson DeChambeau reacts to making a birdie putt on the 14th hole during the third round of the 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & C.C. (Course No. 2) in Village of Pinehurst, N.C. on Saturday, June 15, 2024. (Chris Keane/USGA)
Bryson DeChambeau - image credit Chris Keane/USGA

As well as his new cool (and relatively calm) demeanour, he'll have an extra weapon in his bag as he takes on Pinehurst No. 2 for one last time this week. The crowd. The cheers have been the loudest for him, he is taking the time, even during the round, to speak to and interact with the crowd. After his round on Saturday he explained in more detail about why the fans are so important to him and how he has built a loyal following:

"Yeah, it was amazing. I can't thank them enough. It was a blessing. Man, they riled me up.

"I mean, it's meant a lot to me. Just thinking back three years ago, the landscape was a lot different. I tried to show everybody who I was. I didn't do it the right way and could have done a lot of things better. I'm lucky enough to have a great team around me to help me move in the right direction with the content that we're producing, social media, and then also just a great perspective on life. That combination of things has allowed me to not only have a new perspective but an opportunity to show myself in a different light and to entertain the fans out there on the golf course."

But when it comes down to it, it will be about the golf, so what will DeChambeau's approach be on Sunday:

"Trying to have boring golf. Middle of the greens never moves, so I am going to try and hit a lot of the greens, give myself some good looks on some holes and two-putt a lot."

It's Matthieu Pavon versus the course

Matthieu Pavon plays his tee shot on the 13th hole during the third round of the 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & C.C. (Course No. 2) in Village of Pinehurst, N.C. on Saturday, June 15, 2024. (Mike Ehrmann/USGA)
Matthieu Pavon - image credit Mike Ehrmann/USGA

DeChambeau will be heading out in the final group with Matthieu Pavon who rose up from a tie of fifth to a share of second at four-under-par. Pavon's Saturday was one of two halves, a three-under front nine followed by a two-over back nine.

"The course is really showing its teeth so far. It's a tough one. You feel like sometimes you are flying a little bit, your game, everything is going on, and then at some point you just miss one green, can see a bogey, and then all of a sudden it starts to be harder in your mind and in your game, and you still have to finish the round. That was an up-and-down day, but really happy with the score so far."

The Frenchman is likely to let DeChambeau deal with the fans, whilst his focus will be solely on his battle with the golf course, as he looks to add a first Major to his résumé:

"No, it's just golf. At the end of the day, it's me against the golf course. Even more in majors, my only goal every time I show up is trying to beat the golf course. Here it's tough. The only thing I'm focused on is that goal, and this is what I'm going to do tomorrow."

McIlroy/Cantlay showdown awaits

An interesting grouping will be in front of DeChambeau and Pavon, as Rory McIlroy and Patrick Cantlay will face off for the first time since the infamous caddy moment on the 18th green of Marco Simone at the Ryder Cup.

Rory McIlroy watches his tee shot on the ninth hole during the third round of the 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & C.C. (Course No. 2) in Village of Pinehurst, N.C. on Saturday, June 15, 2024. (Kathryn Riley/USGA)
Rory McIlroy - image credit Kathryn Riley/USGA

Both players, like Pavon, are on four-under-par, after shooting one-under and even par respectively on Saturday. Much is likely to be made of the (Ryder Cup) rivalry, which if it even still exists will most likely spur both players on than be detrimental to their games.

McIlroy is happy to be back in the mix as he looks to break his decade-long Major drought:

"I love the test that Pinehurst is presenting, and you've got to focus and concentrate on every single shot out there. It's what a U.S. Open should be like. It's obviously great to be in the mix.

"I'm excited about it. It would have been nice to hole that putt at the last and get to five-under and break out of that logjam at four. Pros and cons. Pros and cons to being in the last group, and maybe playing one group ahead mightn't necessarily be a bad thing. I'm pretty much in the same position that I was last year going into the final day at LACC. So familiar position, been here many times before, and hopefully tomorrow I produce the golf that's needed to go one better."

Patrick Cantlay tees off on the fourth hole during the third round of the 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & C.C. (Course No. 2) in Village of Pinehurst, N.C. on Saturday, June 15, 2024. (Logan Whitton/USGA)
Patrick Cantlay - image credit Logan Whitton/USGA

Whilst Cantlay will be hoping that the American heavy crowd will have some cheers ready for him as he hopes to secure his first Major in his 30th Major start:

"It would be great. Pinehurst seems like a great golf course for me. You hit a lot of fairways and play smart around here, and you can move up the leaderboard with pars and just a few birdies. I played really smart today and was happy with how I grinded it out. Tomorrow I'm sure will be a grind, as well, and I look forward to the challenge."

Eight players under par

Round three leader Ludvig Åberg will rue the rookie mistake on 13 which cost him a triple bogey and potentially his chance of a first Major on his maiden outing. At two-under-par and with some stern competition in front of him. The challenge maybe too much. Whilst Thomas Detry had a round he would rather forget, starting bogey, double to eventually go six-over for his round and drop to a tie of 16th at two-over-par.

There are only eight players under par with Tyrrell Hatton and Tony Finau rounding off the group at one-under-par. Whilst Collin Morikawa had the round of the day with a four-under 66 to sit at even.

As the USGA celebrates hosting its 1000th tournament, there is no doubt that we're in for a tough final round of the 124th U.S. Open - at times it will be tough to watch, it'll play tough and the players will need to mentally tough to take on the this year's U.S. Open challenge one last time.

View the full 124th U.S. Open leaderboard here. Live coverage continues on Sky Sports Golf from 2:00pm BST.