U.S. Amateur champion Bryson DeChambeau opened with a 2-under 69 Thursday at the Australian Masters. He is currently in a tie for eighth, five shots behind Adam Scott, with whom he was grouped in the opening round.
Starting on the back nine at Huntingdale Golf Club, DeChambeau was even par for the day when he made a triple bogey on the par-4 17th. He rebounded on the front side, making birdies on Nos. 2, 3 and 6 before holing out for eagle on the eighth to come home in 31.
This is DeChambeau’s second appearance since he withdrew from SMU in October, after the NCAA banned the Mustangs from the postseason play following an investigation into the recruiting practices of former head coach Josh Gregory. He missed the cut earlier this month at the Argentina Open.
This is the Australian media’s first look at the 22-year-old, and not surprisingly it has focused on his unorthodox ways, from his Hogan-style cap to his one-plane swing to the uniform length of his irons to the fact that he soaks his golf balls in Epsom salts to determine which are out of balance. He is only the fifth player to win the NCAAs and U.S. Amateur in the same year.
“Before I won those two titles, they thought I was a lunatic,” DeChambeau told reporters. “That’s what happens. Everybody thought Einstein was a lunatic until he was proved correct.
“He was the smartest guy in the world. There is always that stage you’re going to have when you’re trying to do something a little different. My peers have embraced it a little bit now. They’re saying he is just a nutjob out there who loves playing golf.”
DeChambeau is expected to remain amateur at least through the Masters.