DeChambeau tops Bard, 7 and 6, in U.S. Am final

By Ryan LavnerAugust 24, 2015, 1:58 am

OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – Bryson DeChambeau was thrashing around deep in the trees, dancing around poison ivy leaves, wondering how The Machine had malfunctioned.

For the first time all week, his face was flush with frustration. His normally reliable swing had abandoned him at a few critical junctures. His lead had dwindled, from a possible 4-up advantage before lunch to a 1-up lead as he walked off the 19th green. And his caddie/longtime coach had retired to the clubhouse training room, sidelined with plantar fasciitis and a half-dollar-sized blister on his foot.

“Every single shot out there, I kept telling myself that I was good enough,” DeChambeau said. “Just keep playing your style of golf.”

Sticking with what he calls “Bryson Golf” – rhythm, momentum, feel – DeChambeau ripped off seven wins in a nine-hole span to storm past Derek Bard and win this U.S. Amateur in a rout, 7 and 6, the most lopsided result in 16 years.

DeChambeau, a 21-year-old senior at SMU, became only the fifth player to win the NCAA individual title and U.S. Amateur in the same season.

“I can’t even imagine what I just did,” he said. “It won’t sink in for the next couple of days, but I’m honored.”

This appeared like a mismatch from the outset, and DeChambeau only highlighted the disparity between the two players by kicking his game into high gear over the final 90 minutes at Olympia Fields.


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With his lead cut to only 1 up after a sloppy double bogey before lunch and a lost hole from the trees on the 19th, DeChambeau demoralized Bard with three consecutive birdies and four other won holes. Before long, it was over.

“The thing about Bryson that you really have to understand is that there is absolutely no quit in him,” said his coach and caddie Mike Schy, who forfeited the bag to one of DeChambeau’s former teammates, Brooks Price, at the turn. “There will be no quit until you have to drag him off the course. He was always going to right the ship.”

Five days of national-television exposure have made clear what the rankings do not: DeChambeau is the best amateur in the world, a part-mad scientist, part-artist who can mow down opponents with machine-like efficiency.

That’s been the goal, after all, ever since the curious 15-year-old began studying Homer Kelly’s “The Golfing Machine,” a teaching manual that allows a player to build his own swing with 24 components and 144 variations.

“At times it was a bit scary, because he wanted to try things,” Schy said, “but it wasn’t drugs or anything. It was just a golf swing.” 

The swing DeChambeau built is unorthodox looking, with high hands at address and little wrist cock at the top, but it’s steady and, most importantly, easily repeatable. Including the usual match-play concessions, DeChambeau played his 103 holes here on a U.S. Open setup in 19 under par; Bard was 9 over.

“I’ve never seen somebody hit the ball so solid and so straight and have such control of his swing like he does,” said his coach at SMU, Jason Enloe, a former Tour player. “His swing hasn’t changed in three years, and it only gets better because it keeps getting refined. He’s basically a Tour player playing in college.”

From DeChambeau’s unique swing to his Hogan-style hat to his custom equipment to his physics background, it’s obvious that we’re witnessing the emergence of a different kind of star.

His clubs are unlike any you’ll find on a Tour range: TaylorMade driver and fairway woods; Edel irons and wedges that are cut to the same 6-iron length (37 1/2 inches) with the same lie angle and Jumbo Maxx XL grips; and an Edel torque-balanced custom putter.

Instead of attending a player barbecue this week, DeChambeau stayed back and soaked his golf balls in Epsom salt to determine which were out of balance (about four out of every dozen).

And when asked what he likes to do in his free time, the college senior didn’t immediately answer that he hangs out with friends or attends sporting events or tears up downtown Dallas. No, he offered this: “I like to write cursive backward and left-handed.”

Huh?

“I do these sorts of things to keep my mind off of golf and to help my fine motor skills with my hands, create more sensitivity and increase my brainpower,” he said.

Odd, yes, but it’s hard to argue with the results.

Yet how DeChambeau arrived here, posing next to the Havemeyer Trophy, is more a story of curiosity and self-discovery.

Josh Gregory had just accepted the head-coaching job at SMU when he received a tip from another coach: There was a quirky kid in Northern California that he absolutely had to see.

“I’ve never done this in my life,” Gregory recalled Sunday, “but I cold-called him. I said, ‘Bryson, you don’t know me, and I don’t know you, but I’m hopping on a plane tomorrow to come watch you at Torrey Pines (for the Junior Worlds) and I’m going to offer you a full scholarship.’”

DeChambeau was confused.

“But I don’t even know who you are,” he said.

“I know,” Gregory replied, “but I’m coming to watch you and only you, because I hear you’re special.”

Gregory watched DeChambeau at Torrey Pines and was blown away by a player he called “the biggest sleeper in the country, ever.”

“I said to myself, ‘Oh my God, this guy is one of the best ball-strikers I’ve ever seen,’” Gregory said. “I thought his swing was extremely weird, but I tried not to watch how it looked. I just looked at his ball flight and knew I’d never seen anything look that good. The ball made the most incredible sound.”

Gregory saw DeChambeau again at the California State Junior before earning his commitment. When Gregory asked why he had chosen to come to Dallas, DeChambeau replied: “Because your call was the greatest compliment I’ve ever received. Because you were the only coach who let me be me. Everyone else wanted to change me.”

Said Gregory: “I like a kid that’s a little different and outside the box, a kid that has a little attitude on him, because you have to have that to be great. He didn’t care that he was different. He thinks it’s right for him, and he owns his game.”

Gregory’s faith was rewarded, of course, but only after DeChambeau endured a few painful years of near misses and self-doubt.

Though he racked up top-five finishes at a startling rate, he struggled to control his emotions when things went awry. Never was he worse than at the 2013 NCAA regionals, where DeChambeau broke 80 only once in three tries.

“Emotionally, he was a wreck,” Gregory said. “It was a come-to-Jesus moment that his emotions weren’t under control. That was rock bottom.”

DeChambeau showed improvement during his sophomore season, but he was still too hard on himself, lamenting runner-up finishes and staying on the range late at night and calling Schy or Gregory at midnight just because he needed to talk through what he was feeling.

The turning point came at the Western Amateur last summer, when DeChambeau lost a match because of an improbable 30-footer that slammed off the back of the cup. He wasn't upset. He was relieved. 

“Coach, I’ve got it,” he told Gregory through tears. “I’ve finally figured it out. My attitude is what’s been holding me back.”

It didn’t sink in for Gregory – who left the SMU program last summer – until he watched DeChambeau’s match against British Open star Paul Dunne in the quarterfinals.

Scrambling to get back into the match, Dunne holed a big-breaking 30-footer on the 15th hole that could have trimmed his 3-down deficit.

The camera then panned to DeChambeau – and he never flinched. A few moments later, he poured in an 8-footer right on top of Dunne and went on to win, 3 and 2.

“One of the coolest moments that I’ve ever seen,” Gregory said.

The disappointment at the Western Am gave DeChambeau perspective. The victory at the NCAAs in June gave him belief. And now the U.S. Amateur has given him the sense that his potential is limitless.

In the past few months, he has received plenty of TV time, whether it was at the NCAAs, two PGA Tour events or here at the Amateur. Many have commented on his pace of play – he figures to live on the clock at the pro level – but Enloe predicts that DeChambeau will be a “fan favorite” once he hits the Tour next summer.  

The kid has big aspirations too, saying that he hopes to “revolutionize the game of golf in a unique way.”

“There’s a bunch of different ways to play the game of golf,” he said. “You don’t need to play it one way. It doesn’t need to be one swing that’s perfect out there.”

DeChambeau has proved that. Intelligence, quirkiness and strong belief are a scary combination.

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”