Young DeChambeau in contention at Travelers
Cromwell, CT- The Travelers features some of golf’s biggest names, but it also has served as one of golf’s best staging grounds for young players. Hunter Mahan, Bubba Watson, and Marc Leishman are among the golfers who’s first victory came at TPC River Highlands. This year features a set of golfers looking to break into the mainstream. Doug Ghim and Nick Hardy are both making their professional debuts this weekend. Ghim turns pro after being the top amateur in the nation at the University of Texas and Hardy hails from the Illini.
Beau Hossler and Lanto Griffin are both longer term professionals on the list of looking for first victories on tour. But among the young players looking for a breakthrough is a man with two PGA Tour Wins already: Bryson DeChambeau. The 24 year old Modesto, California, native and Clovis, CA, resident had a decorated amateur career. He’s one of four players to win the US Amateur and NCAA National Championship in the same year. The others are Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, and Ryan Moore.
He turned pro in 2015 and competed well in the Web.com Tour. Two years later, he won the John Deere Classic for his first PGA win. He edged Patrick Rodgers by one stroke to win. This year, he seemed poised to win again and improve his standing with fans. So far, so good. He took on Kyle Stanley and An Byeong-Hun in a playoff at The Memorial and won his second PGA Event. He made the trip to Shinnecock and made the cut before criticizing the conditions as “Clown Golf” and finishing 25th overall with a +12.
This week, DeChambeau arrived looking for his third victory on tour. He posted a -4 on the first day, and looked for more on day two. He teed off at 7:30 AM and did not disappoint. Four birdies put Dechambeau at -8 for the tournament and built momentum for the back nine. He immediately birdied 10 and had position for the best round of the day. Then the wheels fell off.
A shot to the left rough on 12 resulted in a bogey and disaster appeared to strike on 13. The 24 year old shot the ball out of bounds and into the drink twice, eventually posting a 7 for a double bogey. “I started to not feel comfortable on 12 after I hooked it almost out of bounds. I think I got my right arm going more and it internally rotated position which is going to change the club face. Then I tried to correct it on the next swing on 13 and it went right.”
Fortunately, DeChambeau rebounded. “In past times, I would definitely be freaking out, not knowing what to do, trying to correct the golf swing rather than going ‘Ok, you don’t have it right now. Let’s go.'”
The Southern Methodist alum pared 14, then got birdies on 15 and 16 to get back to -4 for the round. He pared the last two holes, including a strong recovery second shot with the ball a foot beneath his feet and just above the left fairway bunker. He closed out the day -8 for the tournament, two strokes back of tournament leader Brian Harnan
To be clear, DeChambeau is not a rookie. He is a known entity to hardcore golfers who are already aware of his impressive record at SMU and unusual bag of irons, which are all the same length with only the loft changing. But he’s also not a famed golfer. The gallery following him paled in comparison to the crowds following Watson, McIlroy, Stuart Cink, and many other more notable Tour members. His performance today showed he can score well, rebound from tight situations, and compete with the best. His is a name to watch this weekend. A great performance in Cromwell can be a springboard for fame in the sport. He’ll draw more people for moving day and, hopefully, a chance to compete for the tournament crown.