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19th Hole
News and Opinion

Golf Blogs: Bryson DeChambeau

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Date CreatedMost Popular

Sean Donnelly
Koepka flexes his muscles to seize early Masters advantage
Apr 12, 2019 12:19 PM
 
It’s not difficult to understand why Brooks Koepka has been attributed with the nickname, ‘Hulk’ by his colleagues in the PGA Tour dressing room. Weighing-in at over 185 pounds composed of toned and refined muscle, the Palm Beach-native has long cut an eye-catchingly hefty figure on the golf-course, exhibiting a physique more akin to that of a light-heavyweight boxer or an NFL line-backer than a regular Tour professional. However, the parallels between Koepka and the legendary green comic-book hero extend well beyond sheer physical bulk; indeed, perhaps the most compelling similarity between the two characters is their capacity to convert a perceived sense of grievance into high calibre performance. Put simply, a riled Brooks Koepka tends to be a dangerous Brooks Koepka, and after having had his title hopes ignored by a curiously indifferent media and his physical fitness questioned by the controversial Golf Channel pundit, Brandel Chamblee, the golfing ‘Hulk’ was not lacking in motivation to perform during the opening-round of the 83rd Masters tournament on Thursday. Commenting on Koepka’s much publicised recent weight-loss programme last week, Chamblee criticised the golfer for placing frivolous bodily aesthetics over golfing performance. Why would a star playing the best golf of his career tinker with his body?The question of Brooks Koepka's weight-loss still looms: https://t.co/vHSfI3I9LA pic.twitter.com/YqKL2B6o9P— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) April 11, 2019 He said Koepka’s decision to lean up and change his body was the "most reckless self-sabotage that I have ever seen of an athlete in his prime". Never mind Koepka being starving, it was Chamblee who was made to eat his words after the 28-year-old took a share of the first-round lead at Augusta thanks to a six-under 66. Furthermore, Koepka hit back at Chamblee after his opening round. He said: "Well, I lift all the time. I lift too many weights and I'm too big to play golf. And then when I lose weight, I'm too small. So, I don't know what to say. "Listen, I'm going to make me happy. I don't care what anybody else says. I'm doing it for me and obviously it seems to work." This was a vintage performance from Koepka who has positioned himself strongly to claim a fourth major championship title in three seasons following back-to-back victories in the US Open in 2017 and 2018 and a triumph at the US PGA Championship last August. The 28-year-old had a quiet front-nine, dropping only a single shot at the par-5 second to reach the turn in 35; however, his scoring ignited on the inward stretch as he converted five birdies in six holes between 10 and 16 to join Bryson DeChambeau atop the overnight leaderboard. Koepka’s form at the Masters has trended continuously upwards over the last three seasons (T33-T21-T11); he is well positioned to maintain such a trajectory over the weekend. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
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Sean Donnelly
Gary Woodland fires 6-under 67 to take three-shot lead at Kapalua
Jan 5, 2019 12:54 PM
 
Gary Woodland was not much talked about in the lead-up to the Sentry Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course in Kapalua, Hawaii this week. The 34-year-old qualified for the winners-only event by virtue of having claimed his third PGA Tour title in spectacular fashion in a play-off against Chez Revie at the Waste Management Phoenix Open last February. In addition to having ended a gruelling five-year trophy drought, that triumph catapulted Woodland up to a career-high No.24 in the world rankings, and he finished the season with six further top-10s, including a runners-up finish to world No.1, Brooks Koepka at the CJ Cup in November and a T6 at the US PGA Championship at Bellerive in August. Indeed, the world No.31 arrived in Kapalua with six top-15s (including two top-5s) to his name through his last seven starts and is arguably producing the best golf of his career. Nevertheless, the mainstream golfing media’s characteristic preoccupation with big names meant that Woodland’s title credentials were largely ignored in the lead-up to the Tournament of Champions; 36-holes in, everybody is starting to take notice. Ready for round two in a couple hours. #SentryTOC pic.twitter.com/1hmkbSQI7Q — Dustin Johnson (@DJohnsonPGA) January 4, 2019 Woodland began his week in impressive fashion on Thursday, shooting eight birdies en route to a 6-under 67 that placed him within a single stroke of Kevin Tway’s surprise overnight lead. He replicated the same score on Friday in order to seize an outright hold of the lead at 12-under going into the final 36-holes. Woodland spent much of the second-round as part of a five-way tie for the lead alongside Tway, Rory McIlroy, Bryson DeChambeau and Marc Leishman; however, he burst clear of the chasing-pack following a sensational run of five straight birdies between holes No.11 and 15, and added his eighth birdie of the round on the par-5 18th in order to sign for a second consecutive 67 and a three-stroke advantage. Of course, Woodland’s strong back-nine performance was aided by the fact that none of his birdie putts were converted from longer than 10 feet. But this was more a measure of his confidence, which dates to his work with putting guru Phil Kenyon during the British Open last summer at Carnoustie. "The big deal was just staying patient on the greens," Woodland said. "It's very tough putting with the crosswinds, and I didn't see anything go in early, but nice to see the chip go in on 11 and kind of got me going, propelled me for the rest of the round." With players of the calibre of McIlroy and DeChambeau in hot pursuit of the lead, it is clear that Woodland still has a lot of work left to do if he is to convert his half-way advantage into a tournament victory come Sunday afternoon; however, he has given himself a strong chance of beginning 2019 with a title. [Photo Source: Flickr under CC]
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Sean Donnelly
Sentry Tournament of Champions: DeChambeau and Reed can start 2019 with a bang
Jan 3, 2019 1:51 PM
 
The PGA Tour elite heads to the Plantation Course in Kapalua, Hawaii for the opening event of 2019 at the Sentry Tournament of Champions this week. Here follows our top-three bets for the week. Outright winner: Bryson DeChambeau (12/1) Dustin Johnson trades as the bookmakers’ heavy 5/1 favourite to win this one and it is not difficult to understand why. After all, just 12-months have passed since the 33-year-old beat outright runner-up, John Rahm by six strokes to claim the first of three PGA Tour victories in 2018; his power-based playing style is clearly ideally suited to success on a 7000-yard-plus parkland track that places a far higher premium on distance than accuracy. Indeed, Kapalua boasts five par-5s. It cannot be overlooked, however, that Johnson is winless since claiming his 19th PGA Tour accolade at the Canadian Open last July; he has managed just one top-three finish through seven starts over the last five-months, and has long since been displaced decisively at the summit of the Official World Golf Rankings. In this respect, Bryson DeChambeau looks a far more attractive bet at odds as long as 12/1. A winner in three of his past six starts, the 25-year-old sits top five in this field in strokes/gained: off the tee; strokes/gained: short game; strokes/gained/approach; strokes/gained: ball-striking; strokes/gained on par 5s; strokes/gained on par 4s, including par4s from 350-400 yards (five on the course) over the last 24 rounds. Sentry TOC preview: A fun story from Kapalua about betting on Daniel Chopra’s win a decade ago — and how we’re looking for a Chopra this week. https://t.co/x2PctGQDWj — Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelTAN) January 2, 2019 The world No.5 secured a solid T26 finish on the occasion of his Kapalua debut last year and looks ideally placed to parley his strong second-half of 2018 into a blistering beginning to the 2019 campaign. Each-Way Bet: Patrick Reed (16/1) Okay, so Reed is a player a lot of golf fans love to hate; indeed, the Texan’s overtly truculent, combative personality renders many punters averse to laying money on his success even when the statistics render a compelling case for doing so. Our advice is to try and overlook any negative feelings you may have towards Reed in light of his behaviour at last year’s Ryder Cup and back the reigning Masters champion as an each-way shot at 16/1. A winner in 2015, a runner up in 2016, and tied-6th in 2017, Captain America’s record at Kapalua is top-class; like him or loathe him, Reed represents undeniable value as an each-way bet. Outsider: Andrew Putnam (80-1) Putnam enjoyed a remarkable 2018 campaign; in addition to claiming his maiden PGA Tour title at the Barracuda Championship in August, he posted five top-10s and rose almost 300-places up the world rankings to his present position of No.70. The 29-year-old is solid value to make an impact at Kapalua. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
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Sean Donnelly
Woods set to skip year-opening Tournament of Champions
Dec 28, 2018 10:12 AM
 
After weeks of speculation to the contrary, reports have emerged this morning that Tiger Woods is set to skip next week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua’s Plantation course on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Comments made following a second-from-bottom finish at the Hero World Challenge in December appeared to indicate that Woods would inaugurate his 2019 campaign in Hawaii, but while he still has until this evening to commit to the event, sources close to Tiger have indicated that he will not attend, according to Bob Harig of ESPN. The 42-year-old qualified for the PGA Tour’s annual winners-only event in September when he claimed the Tour Championship title at East Lake by two-strokes away from Billy Horschel – his first victory in over five-years. That triumph appeared to mark a fitting conclusion to a remarkable comeback season for Woods, who only returned to competitive play following a 10-month injury layoff last December. Tiger Woods won't play in the Sentry Tournament of Champions next week.He is expected to make his 2019 debut at the Farmers Insurance Open in late January.https://t.co/t0vjJ1TPL5 pic.twitter.com/TXpshw1qHl— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) December 27, 2018 After such a lengthy spell on the side-lines, expectations were inevitably muted for Tiger’s 2018 season; indeed, he began the campaign ranked well outside of the world’s top-1000. However, he played a full schedule of 18 events, in addition to the Ryder Cup and a deeply underwhelming pay-per-view match against Phil Mickelson in Las Vegas in December. Over the course of the year Woods missed only two cuts; he posted seven top-10s, including two runners-up placings, and twice came close to claiming a fifteenth major championship title, finishing tied-sixth at The Open at Carnoustie and tied-second at the PGA Championship at Bellerive. This form has catapulted the veteran back into the world’s top-15; consequently, there was a widespread expectation that Woods would seek to maintain his strong form by inaugurating his 2019 campaign at Kapalua, a course on which he possesses a remarkable record. In eight appearances, his worst finish is a tie for 10th (2002). He’s won twice (1997 and 2000) and finished runner-up once (1998). In his last appearance in 2005, he finished T3. Nevertheless, Woods traditionally makes his season debut at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, a course where he’s won eight times in his career (last in 2013), and it may well be the case that he fancies his chances of ending a six-year trophy drought in San Diego. News of the 14-time major champion’s absence will undoubtedly come as a boost to defending champion, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau, Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy, who are all expected to travel to Hawaii. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
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Sean Donnelly
2018 Hero World Challenge betting tips: Back Finau for the title
Nov 29, 2018 12:51 PM
 
A select, invitation-only 18-man field composed of PGA and European Tour elites descend on Albany Golf Course in New Province, Bahamas for the Tiger Woods Foundation-hosted Hero World Challenge this week. Here follows our best bet for the week. Outright winner: Tony Finau (18/1) World No.1, Justin Rose leads the betting market for this one as an 8/1 shot, and while it is straightforward to construct a strong case for backing the favourite, those odds seem short to me. Rose, it is true, arrives in the Bahamas fresh off the back of claiming his second title of the season at the Turkish Airlines Open in Antalya on the occasion of his most recent start and, given he owns a property in New Province, it seems likely he is possessed of a deep familiarity with the course. But aside from a fifth-place finish last year (a relative achievement given the size of the field), Rose’s record at the Hero World Challenge is remarkably unspectacular (one top-10 in three starts) and, given he has not contested a competitive event in over three-weeks, it seems likely he will require a few rounds to rediscover his best level. Rose looked understandably fatigued after a long season upon winning in Turkey and, on a course that places a far higher premium on distance than accuracy (there are five par-fives), I am content to skip over the Englishman for this one. A year ago, everything was different for @TigerWoods. Before 2017 Hero World Challenge FedExCup: N/A World Ranking: No. 1,199 After the 2018 @PlayoffFinale FedExCup: No. 2 World Ranking: No. 13 #LiveUnderPar pic.twitter.com/FcNyPX67yA— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) November 29, 2018 Dustin Johnson does not inspire a great deal more confidence as a 9/1 shot. Winless since claiming his third title of the year at the RBC Canadian Open at the end of July, DJ has recently looked a shadow of player who dominated the PGA Tour throughout 2016 and 2017. He carded just one top-10 in the FedEx Cup play-off series; he took just a single point from five matches at the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National, and followed-up a missed-cut at The Open Championship with an indifferent T27 at the US PGA Championship. Down to No.3 in the world, DJ seems to have lost the X-Factor that rendered him such a compelling investment throughout the last 18-months and he has no real track record at Albany Golf Course – 9/1 is far too short a price to touch. A similar conclusion can be drawn when surveying candidates trading between 10s and 12s for this one: notably, Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas and Phil Mickelson. A two-time winner during the FedEx Cup play-offs, Bryson DeChambeau catches the eye as an 11/1 for sure; however, the physicist is likely to be struggling with fatigue following an intense final three months of the season (encompassing that abortive Ryder Cup debut) and he tends to thrive more on courses that place a greater onus on accuracy than Albany. In this context, Tony Finau looks exceptional value at 18/1. The 29-year-old tanked at the Ryder Cup, it is true; however, it was a spectacular 2-T4-T8-T15 run through the FedEx Cup play-off series that earned him Jim Furyk’s fourth and final wild-card selection and he has since gone on to narrowly lose-out in a play-off at the WGC-HSBC Champions event in China. Finau ranks top-5 on the PGA Tour for driving distance and par-5 scoring in 2018 and is overdue a second title; back the world No.14 as an 18/1 shot. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
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Sean Donnelly
Patrick Cantlay has yet to hit top-gear on PGA Tour
Nov 6, 2018 5:14 AM
 
When Patrick Cantlay claimed his maiden PGA Tour title in a play-off against Germany’s Alex Čejka and Korea’s Kim Meen-whee at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin 12 months ago, he seemed ideally placed to fulfil long untapped potential and ascend to the elite-level of the professional sport. The Californian had, after all, been tipped for great things since claiming the Haskins Award as the most outstanding college golfer in his freshman term at UCLA in 2011; earlier that year, he qualified for the U.S. Open at Congressional through the regional pools and signed for a second-round 67 en route to a Low-Amateur, T21 finish. Cantlay, in short, seemed destined for great things and he claimed his maiden professional title on the Webb.com Tour within a year of turning pro in 2012. By 2014, he had already earned PGA Tour playing privileges. A sequence of serious lower-back problems, however, stymied this ascent; he made just five starts in 2014 and only regained a level of fitness sufficient to return to the PGA circuit in mid-2017. Bryson DeChambeau won the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open on Sunday, less than 24 hours after injuring himself while ringing a siren at a Vegas Golden Knights game. https://t.co/z2Vq2w0FW8 pic.twitter.com/wnFIauWDJ5— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) November 5, 2018 A remarkable run of four top-10s, including two top-threes, ensured he qualified for the FedEx Cup play-off series and his victory at TPC Summerlin ensured he finished the year ranked No.38 in the Official World Golf Rankings. It seemed as though he had gotten his career back on track and was ideally placed to make-up for lost time. To describe the season that followed as a disappointment would be an overstatement. Cantlay produced six top-10s through 22 starts on the PGA Tour in 2018 prior to arriving in Las Vegas to defend his Shriners title last week. While he failed to contend meaningfully at major championship-level (CUT-T45-T12-T27), he did succeed in breaking into the top-20 of the world rankings for the first time in his career and was a going concern for Ryder Cup inclusion. Nevertheless, there remains an air of unfulfilled promise around Cantlay, a player memorably described by Jordan Spieth as the most talented of his generation. This sentiment was set in sharp relief on Sunday as Bryson DeChambeau produced a stunning eagle on the 16th-hole of his final-round to move a stroke ahead of the defending champion at the top of the leaderboard before parring his way into the clubhouse to claim his fourth title of the year. Cantlay had produced four outstanding sub-70 rounds in Las Vegas to get to 20-under par through 72-holes; he landed 36 of 56 fairways off the tee; he hit 63 greens-in-regulation and led the tournament in strokes-gained putting. Nevertheless, he came up a single stroke short on the final leaderboard, a ‘close but no cigar’ dynamic that is threatening to become a metaphor for the 26-year-old’s career. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
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Sean Donnelly
Bryson DeChambeau establishes marker for new season in Las Vegas
Nov 5, 2018 12:15 PM
 
Bryson DeChambeau proved a lot of doubters wrong in winning three times, including twice at FedEx Cup Play-Off level, through the course of the 2017/18 PGA Tour season. The Californian exploded into the popular sporting consciousness in 2015 when he became only the fifth player in history to win both the NCAA and U.S. Amateur titles in the same season, following in the footsteps of Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Ryan Moore. But despite a remarkable collegiate-level pedigree, DeChambeau was regarded more as a curious oddity than an emerging star upon turning professional immediately following a T21 finish at the 2016 Masters. A physics graduate and maths enthusiast, DeChambeau has long been open about adopting an unusually scientific approach to golf, a circumstance embodied by the fact that he enlisted the help of a custom clubmaker to have all his clubs cut with identical seven-iron shafts. Thus all DeChambeau’s clubs are composed of 37 ½ inch shafts and identical 9.8 ounce heads, a circumstance which allows him to maintain an identical swing plane no matter what type of shot he is hitting. What. A. Putt. @B_DeChambeau takes the lead with an eagle at 16.#LiveUnderPar pic.twitter.com/R8aIoDRrSr — PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) November 4, 2018 When such eccentricities yield victories, of course, the practitioner in question is hailed as a genius; but when results dry-up, he can be cruelly labelled a charlatan. DeChambeau was on the receiving end of much of this kind of commentary at the end of a debut season comprising just two top-10s to 10 missed-cuts through 29 starts. A victory at the John Deere Classic last July, however, proved transformative and DeChambeau subsequently went on to win three times on the PGA Tour in 2018: at The Memorial Tournament, at the Northern Trust Open and at the Dell Technologies Championship. Those triumphs catapulted the 25-year-old up from No.99 in the world as of 31 December 2017 into the top-10 by the end of the FedEx Cup and earned him wild-card selection to Jim Furyk’s Ryder Cup squad. Worryingly, perhaps, for DeChambeau’s rivals, the Modesto-native shows few signs of letting-up at the dawn of the 2018/19 campaign. Making his first start of the wrap-around period at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas last week, he carded four rounds of 66 or better; he holed an eagle putt from just inside 60 feet on the 16th hole during his final-round and closed with smart play for pars to win his fourth title of the calendar year by one shot over Patrick Cantlay. Up to a new career-high of No.5, DeChambeau could well end 2019 at the summit of the Official World Golf Rankings. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
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Sean Donnelly
Woods, Mickelson and DeChambeau complete a formidable Ryder Cup squad
Sep 8, 2018 1:26 AM
 
Writing for Golf.com last November, Alan Shipnuck, the doyen of American golf journalists, proffered a rather bold prediction. “The Ryder Cup is dead”, Shipnuck declared; “you just don't know it yet.” “The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefiting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era”, he predicted, “will roll to victory in 2018 in Paris”. Such will set the stage for “a decade-plus of blowouts”, sapping the event of all intrigue and rendering it a hollow shell of the competition that has captured the transatlantic golfing imagination for much of the last twenty-years. Watching US Ryder Cup captain, Jim Furyk confirm 14-time major winner, Tiger Woods; five-time major winner, Phil Mickelson and the newly-crowned world No.7, Bryson DeChambeau as his first three wild-card selections on Wednesday, it was difficult not to reflect upon Shipnuck’s prophecy with a deep sense of foreboding. We’ll see you in Paris!@PhilMickelson @b_dechambeau @TigerWoods pic.twitter.com/SscUZHs0ah— Ryder Cup USA (@RyderCupUSA) September 4, 2018 Every two-years, it seems, we are inundated with a slew of commentary exalting the US Ryder Cup squad as the greatest such representative unit ‘of all-time’. The analytical utility of inter-generational comparisons in any sport, of course, is deeply dubious; but regardless of the ultimately unprovability of such claims, it is possible to construct a very strong argument that such is the case this time around. In Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas, the Americans boast each of the world’s three highest-ranked players in their starting roster; add-in Rickie Fowler, DeChambeau and Jordan Spieth and they have six of the top-10, with Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson making it nine of the top-20 (the inclusion of Tony Finau or Xander Schauffele as wold-card No.4 should round that out to 10 of the top-20). Indeed, the US Ryder Cup squad boast a cumulative three majors (Reed – The Masters; Koepka – the US Open and US PGA) and 10 regular PGA Tour titles over the last eight months alone; in Koepka and DeChambeau they possess the outstanding senior and young players of the season and, taking historic major titles into consideration, the States have 29 to Europe’s eight. Woods, of course, makes the telling contribution in this respect and it is the former world No.1’s presence that renders Furyk’s selection so complete in its formidableness. Despite failing, thus far, to end his five-season PGA Tour trophy drought, the 42-year-old has arguably been the sport’s standout performer in 2018. Returning from a potentially career-ending back-injury, Woods has carded five top-10s through 16 starts, missing only two cuts; he finished second at the Valspar Championship, sixth at The Open and second at the US PGA Championship; and has risen from No.656 in the world on 1 January 2018 to No.26 as of the beginning of this week. On paper, this is by some distance the most decorated, experienced and technically complete US squad in Ryder Cup history; fortunately, from a European point-of-view, the game is not played on paper. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
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Sean Donnelly
DeChambeau copper-fastens Ryder Cup berth in Boston
Sep 4, 2018 12:39 PM
 
If US Ryder Cup captain, Jim Furyk harboured any lingering anxieties regarding the wisdom of handing the precocious young Californian, Bryson DeChambeau one of four wild-card spots in the squad he will take to Paris at the end of the month, they were surely expunged on Sunday. DeChambeau, who last week claimed his maiden FedEx Cup triumph at the Northern Trust Open, started the final round of the Dell Technologies Championship in Boston one stroke behind a surprise 54-hole leader in the figure of Mexican, Abraham Ancer, and was one of 10 players poised within a four-shot striking distance of top-spot. He started solidly, bookending a sloppy bogey on the par-3 third-hole with birdies on the second and fourth; it was after a two-putt birdie from 50 feet on the par-5 seventh, however, that his scoring clicked. He moved into the outright lead courtesy of a 12-foot birdie putt on the 220-yard eighth hole, and then hit his approach to 6 feet to a back right pin at No. 9 for his third straight birdie. Ancer was abjectly unable to keep up the pace and his title challenge exploded when he dropped three shots in a tough four-hole stretch early on the back nine. Cameron Smith endeavoured valiantly to maintain pressure on DeChambeau with a pair of late birdies; however, the leader answered with a birdie of his own on No. 15 to keep his lead at two shots. Q: How much better can you get? A: You can always get better. How much depends on the restrictions of bio mechanics. It's about tolerances- be less sensitive to air so that when you feel like you mess up it's not that big a mess up. #DeChambeau #FedExCup https://t.co/lgE4SPfjSM — Helene Jnane (@HeleneJnane) September 4, 2018 That score left Smith in need of an eagle on the par-5 eighteenth to force a play-off; when he hit an understandably ambitious second shot into a hazard en route a bogey, tournament officials could safely begin inscribing DeChambeau’s name into the trophy. He ultimately closed out a two-shot victory away Justin Rose at 16-under. "You can always get better," DeChambeau said. "How much? I would say it depends on what I can do in the restrictions of my biomechanics. So it's all about error tolerances and being ... less sensitive to error. So that when you do feel like you mess up, it's not going to be that big of a mess-up. I hope that makes sense. "But I can say there is another level." In light of the his performances over the past eight months, that is quite a statement. In 23 starts since the beginning of the year, DeChambeau has won three times, posting two further top-threes and three further top-10s. This form has catapulted him from No.99 in the Official World Golf Rankings on 1 January 2018 to No.7 as of the beginning of this week, one place above Rory McIlroy, and he came within a hair’s breadth of claiming automatic qualification to the US Ryder Cup sqaud, finishing fewer than 200 points behind eighth-place, Webb Simpson in the points-race. In light of Sunday’s triumph, one struggles to envisage Furyk absenting such a precocious talent from his final selection. <div class="tk-news-body" "="" style="box-sizing: inherit; color: black; overflow: hidden; padding: 10px 40px; font-family: &quot;Open Sans&quot; !important;">[Image Source: Flickr under CC]
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Sean Donnelly
Simpson reaffirms Ryder Cup credentials at Dell Technologies Championship
Sep 2, 2018 11:58 AM
 
When Webb Simpson finished fewer than 200-points clear of Bryson DeChambeau in order to seal the eighth and final automatic qualification spot on Jim Furyk’s Ryder Cup squad last month, there were more than a few murmurings of discontent. DeChambeau, after all, has established himself as the coming force of American golf over these past 12 months, and as much as commentators and fans might still respect Simpson’s pedigree as an elite-level performer, media response to the closing of the points-race belied an unmistakable disappointment that the 24-year-old had missed-out. Many American golf watchers, it seemed, were possessed of the immemorial human impulse to favour the fresh and new over the tried and trusted; this dynamic was reaffirmed when DeChambeau carded four rounds in the 60s en route to winning the Northern Trust Open last weekend. But however understandable such sentiments may be, they are seldom rooted in a dispassionate, rational analysis of competitive realities; indeed, the emphatic nature of Simpson’s opening 36-holes at the Dell Technologies Championship in Boston this week has gone a long way towards refuting commonplace suggestions that he was in anyway fortunate to finish ahead of DeChambeau. The 33-year-old hit nine of 14 fairways and landed 11 greens in regulation en route to a 3-under opening-round 68, a total that positioned him three shots shy of Justin Rose’s overnight lead. Report & highlights from the second round of the #DellTechChamp, where Webb Simpson edged ahead of Tyrrell Hatton & Justin Rose... https://t.co/tIadys6Nsz #GolfonSky pic.twitter.com/CS2YvSxiB6 — Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) September 1, 2018 On Saturday, however, his scoring went up a notch; he posted six birdies through his opening 13 holes before converting a stunning, 71-foot eagle putt at the 18th to seize the outright, halfway lead by a stroke away from Rose and Tyrrell Hatton. "I was excited, and you just kind of laugh at those," said Simpson of the eagle putt. "Because you're not trying to make them, you're just trying to get them close. Those moments are always fun on the last hole. Honestly, it brings back the 2011, making a couple of putts when I won. Just a great atmosphere out there." Simpson has enjoyed something of a renaissance in 2018. A surprise FedEx Cup champion seven-years ago, the North Carolina-native slipped out of the wold’s top-80 at the close of a trying 2016 campaign; however, he battled back into the top-50 last year and ended a five-season trophy drought at The Players Championship in May to ascend to the top-20. On form, Simpson retains the capacity to outscore most any player on the PGA Tour; he will be an asset to Furyk’s side in Paris. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
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Sean Donnelly
DeChambeau may have just sealed a Ryder Cup debut
Aug 27, 2018 1:00 PM
 
If US Ryder Cup captain, Jim Furyk was equivocating over whether to hand Bryson DeChambeau one of four wildcards for next month’s event in Paris after the 24-year-old posted a stunning 8-under third-round 63 at the Northern Trust Open, he was surely purged of any lingering doubt on Sunday afternoon. DeChambeau began the final-round with a four-stroke lead away from an elite chasing pack fronted by Keegan Bradley and swiftly expanded his advantage to six following birdies from three and four-feet respectively on the par-4 first and par-3 second-holes. His momentum was stymied, however, after posting a sloppy bogey at the par-5 third and any thoughts the Californian might canter to a maiden FedEx Cup play-off title were expunged when he slipped back to Even for the day following a bogey on the ninth. Suddenly, DeChambeau’s procession metamorphosed into an intimidating test of will; the question was a simple one – would he sink or swim on a pressure-filled back-nine on a big tournament Sunday? The manner of the former NCAA and U.S. Amateur champion’s response to such adversity suggests that he is comfortably in possession of the mental fortitude and technical robustness required to thrive at Ryder Cup level. With Tony Finau closing-in ominously on an increasingly fragile lead, DeChambeau stitched an approach shot to within a foot of the hole on the par-4 twelfth to restore his advantage to three and converted from eight-feet on the par-5 next to regain his four-stroke advantage at the summit of the leaderboard. From there, a Faldo-esque run of five consecutive pars into the clubhouse was sufficient to claim the title by four courtesy of a 2-under closing round 69. Suddenly DeChambeau’s case for wildcard inclusion is beginning to look irrefutable. Congratulations, @B_DeChambeau.The 24-year-old has won his third PGA TOUR title @TheNTGolf.#LiveUnderPar pic.twitter.com/tO3DR52LbL— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 26, 2018 "Like I said yesterday, I'm a man on a mission right now -- two missions, actually," the player reflected. "One being the Ryder Cup and one being the FedEx Cup. I'm doing pretty well right now and just got to keep moving forward in the right direction…Hopefully he [Furyk] can see that I've got some grit and grind, and that even when I don't execute certain shots, I can get it done.” Get it done he most certainly can; in 22 starts since the beginning of the year, DeChambeau has won twice, posting two further top-threes and three further top-10s. This form has catapulted him from No.99 in the Official World Golf Rankings on 1 January 2018 to No.12 as of the beginning of this week and he came within a hair’s breadth of claiming automatic qualification to the US Ryder Cup squad for Le Golf National next month, finishing fewer than 200 points behind eighth-place, Webb Simpson. In light of Sunday’s triumph, one struggles to envisage Furyk absenting such a precocious talent from his final selection. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
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Sean Donnelly
DeChambeau asserts Ryder Cup credentials at Northern Trust Open
Aug 26, 2018 10:13 AM
 
Well, it’s on now. The FedEx Cup play-off opening Northern Trust Open got off to something of a slow start with Jamie Lovemark, Vaughn Taylor and Kevin Tway populating an indifferent opening-round leaderboard. By Friday evening, however, Brooks Koepka, Adam Scott, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson had all played themselves into contention, and, on Saturday, Bryson DeChambeau introduced another compelling competitive dynamic into the mix. The 24-year-old has enjoyed a banner season on the PGA Tour in 2018; in addition to claiming his third professional title in a play-off against An Byeong-hun and Kyle Stanley at The Memorial Tournament in June, he finished second at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and third at the RBC Heritage, posting three further top-10 finishes. This form catapulted DeChambeau from No.99 in the Official World Golf Rankings on 1 January 2018 to No.21 as of the beginning of this week and he came within a hair’s breadth of claiming automatic qualification to captain, Jim Furyk’s US Ryder Cup squad for Le Golf National next month, finishing fewer than 200 points behind eighth-place, Webb Simpson. The former NCAA and U.S. Amateur champion consequently arrived at Ridgewood Country Club this week with a point to prove: a strong performance would go a long way towards persuading Furyk to confer on him one of four wild-cards. Currently projected #FedExCup No. 1: @B_DeChambeau pic.twitter.com/P7izCX9y7U — PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 25, 2018 If the nature of DeChambeau’s Saturday performance is anything to go by, Furyk will be hard-pressed to absent him from his 12-man team. DeChambeau got his third-round off to a blistering start, carding back-to-back birdies on the par-3 second and par-4 third holes, and a birdie-bogey-birdie-birdie run through holes six to nine ensured he completed the front-nine in just 31 strokes. His scoring accelerated on the inward stretch: he birdied the par-3 eleventh and par-4 twelfth consecutively to move to six-under for the day and finished with another pair of birdies on seventeen and eighteenth to sign for an eight-under total, 63. He will consequently tee-off on Sunday with a four-stroke lead away from Keegan Bradley. "I've got a four-shot lead, and never really been in this spot before," DeChambeau said. "But I'm excited because this is a new challenge for me, and I always like challenges." Perhaps the most striking element of DeChambeau’s performance, even more than his tam o'shanter cap and single-length shafts, was the fact that all the stars around him were in reverse. Of the final 10 players to tee off, DeChambeau and Scott were the only ones to break par and Scott had to birdie three of his last four holes in order to do so, signing for a 1-under 70. Whatever happens on Sunday, Furyk will have found this performance extremely difficult to overlook. [Image Source: Flickr under CC]
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