Bryson DeChambeau was asked to put into perspective what his triple-bogey on the 18th hole of Friday’s second round of the Masters means to his chances of winning.
“I’m only four shots back,” DeChambeau said.
That kind of attitude has brought DeChambeau, an amateur playing in his first Masters, this far at Augusta National. Before making a complete mess of the final hole, DeChambeau was just one shot behind playing-partner and leader Jordan Spieth.
But then it all fell apart.
“I pulled the drive into the holly,” DeChambeau said. “Had to take an unplayable. Brought it back to the tee because I had no shot from there. Ultimately did the same thing, pulled it a little bit, and went right next to a (temporary immovable obstruction). And that was pretty fortunate on my part, I got to actually drop it across about 40 yards away.”
DeChambeau finally got his ball to the green, and took a 7.
But that didn’t take everything away from what was an otherwise excellent day for DeChambeau, 22, who started his round by chipping in for a birdie on the first hole.
Whatever happens this weekend – he safely made the cut – DeChambeau will turn pro at next week’s tournament at Hilton Head, S.C. He also has committed to play in the Wells Fargo Championship in May at Charlotte’s Quail Hollow Club.
He’s got impeccable amateur credentials. In 2015, DeChambeau became the fifth player in history to win the NCAA championship (at Southern Methodist) and the U.S. Amateur in one season, joining the likes of Tiger Woods (Stanford), Jack Nicklaus (Ohio State), Phil Mickelson (Arizona State) and Ryan Moore (Nevada-Las Vegas).
He has also brought a unique outlook to the game, one he says combines science and art.
“It’s a mesh of the two,” he said. “If you can beautifully mesh the art and science of it to enhance your game, there’s no downside to it.”
DeChambeau has had all of his irons cut to the same length (37½ inches, the length of a 70-iron), so he can use the same swing plane.
He has names for his irons. For instance: His 60-degree wedge is called “King,” because Arnold Palmer won the Masters in 1960. His 9-iron, with a 42-degree angle, is called “Jackie” for Jackie Robinson.
DeChambeau has also studied a book written in 1969 by Homer Kelley called “The Golfing Machine.”
All that study, and all those apparent innovations, have him on the doorstep of what could be a long, successful pro career.
What did DeChambeau think when he looked up at the leaderboard and saw his name Friday?
“That I belong,” he said.