24 year-old DeChambeau leads FedEx Cup Playoffs
Paramus, NJ- Bryson DeChambeau put on a show on Saturday. The 24 year old Modesto, California native recorded his lowest career round, 63, to take a four stroke lead into the final day of The Northern Trust. Sunday, at 2 PM, DeChambeau teed off his final round and took control early. Back-to-back birdies on the first two holes offered signs of a promising day. Then trouble crept in. A drive to the rough and a narrow miss on a par putt led to Bryson’s first bogey of the round. He parred the next five holes and finished the front nine even par.
All the while, Ryan Palmer, Cameron Smith, and Aaron Wise all took short runs up the scoreboard and appeared to apply pressure. But none of them cut the lead close enough. Palmer eagled 3 and birdied 4 and 7. He added two more birdies on the back nine, but his -6 starting point was not close enough for his 65 round to jump higher on the board. Smith birdied five holes through his round, but three bogeys kept the Brisbane, Australia, native from a lower round. And Wise carded two birdies on the front and four birdies in five holes on the back. Unfortunately, bogeys on 16 and 17 cost a higher score.
As Wise fell back, DeChambeau stabilized. He nearly birdied out of the bunker on 10. Then recorded consecutive birdies on 12 and 13 to run his score to -18 for the week. DeChambeau did not birdie another hole, but he still saved his best for last. On 18, with the tournament all but secured, he drove the ball far right, onto an unused fairway beyond the rough. He looked at two windows; one perpendicular to get back in the fairway and the other over the trees to the green. At the crowd’s behest, and after deliberating with his caddy, DeChambeau went for the green. His shot went 184 yards over the trees and landed 22 feet from the green. He did not birdie the hole, but still provided a beautiful exclamation point on his third career PGA victory and first FedEx Cup Playoff win.
DeChambeau was elated after the day. “I’ve been grinding and working really, really hard on my golf swing, and this golf course was set up perfect for me. I was able to go out there and execute shots at the level I know I can.” He added a perspective on why he plays the game when asked about what he’ll do with his 1.62 million dollar purse. “I’ll invest it. I don’t look at it, I don’t play golf for money. I play golf to execute that shot, that beautiful shot that everyone adores.”
The -18 did more than just win the Northern Trust Tournament for DeChambeau. He was not listed in the first eight players announced for the United States’ Ryder Cup team. American Captain Jim Furyk has plenty of evidence to consider the former SMU Mustang for the team after the week’s performance. DeChambeau also gained two thousand points in the FedEx Cup standings and jumped to the top of the heap. He goes from ninth to first, with Dustin Johnson in second place by 648 points.
Other notable performances included Tony Finau, who finished in second place at -14. The Utahan was also seeking a Ryder Cup spot and he made a loud case for himself. Ryan Palmer’s -12 jumped him from 100th in the FedEx Cup standings to 50th, the largest jump by anyone in the weekend. Tyrell Hatton carded the day’s lowest score with a -7.
Unfortunately, Keegan Bradley’s performance was notable for the wrong reason. The Woodstock, Vermont, native started the day at -12, second place in the tournament by four strokes. While DeChambeau shone, Bradley crumbled. He saved par on his first two holes, then hit the woods on 4, resulting in double bogey. He recorded four bogeys and ended the front with a painful double bogey on 9, dropping him to +7 on the round. Bradley went even on the back, ending the day at -5, seven strokes off of his starting position. Still, Bradley’s week gained him two spots in the FedEx Cup standings, going to 47th.
Notables eliminated from contention for the FedEx Cup after the week include Brandon Harkins, Patrick Rodgers, Charl Schwartzel, and Rory Sabbatini. Meanwhile, Nick Watney, Bronson Burgoon, and Jhonattan Vegas earned their way to TPC Boston for next week’s tournament.
The top 100 players remaining in the FedEx Cup standings advance to the Dell Technologies Championships for the last playing of said tournament. Play begins at TPC Boston on Friday and concludes on Labor Day.