June 21 (UPI) -- Bryson DeChambeau nearly carded a hole in one and took the lead briefly at the 2021 U.S. Open, but a back-nine meltdown led to a 26th place finish, representing a difference of more than $2.1 million in winnings.
The No. 6 player in the Official World Golf Ranking shot a 2-under par 33 on the front nine of his final round Sunday at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego. He carded an 8-over par 44 on the back nine.
He tapped in a birdie putt on No. 8 and made par on No. 9 for the solo lead at the turn, but hit a wall with two bogeys, a double bogey and a quadruple bogey down the stretch.
"It is what it is," DeChambeau told reporters. "It's golf. It's life. I'm just proud that I can hold my head right now. I'm OK. I'm alright."
DeChambeau started the day in a tie for fourth place, which carried $498,176 in prize money had he finished there.
DeChambeau hit his tee shot into the rough on No. 10, but he saved par on the hole. He smacked his next drive right of the green on the Par 3 11th hole.
He then hit a chip shot past the hole and missed a par putt to the right for his first bogey of the day. He carded another bogey on No. 12 to drop move up to 3-under par for the tournament and into a tie for third place.
DeChambeau smashed his next drive right of the fairway and followed with another shot into the rough. His third shot on No. 13 went into a bunker.
He dug too deep into the sand on his fourth stroke and sent the ball over the green. DeChambeau's next shot bounced near the hole, but then rolled far down the green.
He ended the hole with a tap in for triple bogey, which sent his score to just 1-under par. He made par on the next three holes, but made a quadruple bogey on No. 17 and was nine shots back of the lead when he teed off for the final hole.
DeChambeau made par on No. 18 and finished with a round of 6-over par. He carded a score of 3-over par for the tournament.
"Unfortunately, I had bad break after bad break happen," DeChambeau said. "I played two little shots next to the green, both weird lies, both trying to get cute with them and messed up on 13."
The 2020 U.S. Open champion carded a 6-under par to win the title last year in Mamaroneck, N.Y. He fired a 3-under par 67 in the final round and an overall score of 6-under par to win that major title.
He entered hole No. 11 on Sunday with a streak of 34-consecutive holes without a bogey.
"I didn't get off the rails at all," DeChambeau said. "It's golf. I've had plenty of times where I hit it way worse than [today] and I've won. ... I just didn't have the right breaks happen at the right time."
DeChambeau admitted he was frustrated during the final round, but said he "didn't even care" when asked about his struggles in his news conference Sunday at Torrey Pines.
"I've changed a lot attitude-wise," DeChambeau said. "It's frustrating in the moment when it's happening, but for me, now I don't really care as much. I've already won it."
DeChambeau dropped one spot in the Official World Golf Ranking and from second to third in the FedExCup standings due to his late struggles at the major tournament.