Bryson DeChambeau Silences Critics With Dominant US Open Victory
THEY said it couldn’t be done. They said that Winged Foot would bring Bryson DeChambeau to his knees. He had told everybody who was willing to listen that he was going to hit his driver at every opportunity, smash the ball as hard as he could, find it and thrash the ball onto the green.
And, lo and behold, he shot a final round of 67 at Winged Foot to win the US Open by six shots from 21-year-old Matt Wolff. He did it his own way and, when all was said and done, he was the only man in the field who finished the week under par. A winning total of 274 seems hardly credible, but that is exactly what this muscle-bound American golfer achieved.
The doom-mongers had predicted that he would come unstuck. He proved them all wrong with a wonderful final round of 67 to see off Wolff, who stumbled to a 75 and had to make do with finishing as runner-up after starting the day two shots in front of DeChambeau.
“I think I'm definitely changing the way people think about the game,” DeChambeau said. “Now, whether you can do it, that's a whole different situation. There's a lot of people that are going to be hitting it far. Matthew was hitting it plenty far today. A couple of putts just didn't go in for him today and kept the momentum on my side.”
DeChambeau hit just 41% of the fairways but proved that he could win from the rough. His final round was the best of the day by three. It was his seventh PGA Tour win and first major. His eyes welled with tears after he signed his scorecard and was presented with a video link to his family.
Louis Oosthuizen (73) finished third, eight back. Harris English (73) was fourth.
DeChambeau was firmly in control by the time they hit the final stretch after playing the front nine in 33 shots - two under par - and he then had one birdie and eight pars in his final nine holes.
Wolff, who was hoping to become the first debutant to win the championship since Francis Ouimet in 1907, dropped four shots on the run-in as the pressure built.
DeChambeau becomes only the second player to win the men's US Open at Winged Foot with a score under par, joining 1984 champion Fuzzy Zoeller. "It's just an honour, it has been a lot of hard work," he said "At nine, that was when I first thought this could be a reality. I made an eagle, I had shocked myself to do that, and I thought, 'I can do it'.
"Then I said ‘No, you have to focus on each and every hole'. Throughout the back nine I kept saying ‘You still have three, four, five holes to go', whatever it was.
"I had to keep focused and make sure I executed each shot the best I could do.”
He hit six of 14 fairways in the final round and just 23 of 56 for the week, but it didn’t seem to matter.
“Everyone talked about hitting fairways out here,” said Xander Schauffele (74, 4 over, solo fifth). “It's not about hitting fairways. It's about hitting on the correct side of the hole and hitting it far so you can kind of hit a wedge instead of a 6-iron out of the rough. He's sort of trending in the new direction of golf, and he said he wanted to do everything he's doing, and yeah, I am happy for him. He's playing unbelievable.”
Amazing feeling after so much hard work has gone into this transformation of my game and outlook. Thank you to my fans, team and sponsors for sticking with me. And thank you to the @USGA, @usopengolf and Winged Foot for an incredible test. So honored to have won my 1st major here pic.twitter.com/75OEogzMtc— Bryson DeChambeau (@b_dechambeau) September 21, 2020
This was a day when Danny Lee six-putted one green, and Rory McIlroy saw his chances disappear when he took four putts early on.
And McIlroy was in awe of DeChambeau’s performance. “No chance,” said McIlroy (75, T8), when asked if he could have foreseen a player hitting so few fairways and winning. “I don't really know what to say because that's just the complete opposite of what you think a US Open champion does. He's found a way to do it. Whether that's good or bad for the game, I don't know, but it's just not the way I saw this golf course being played or this tournament being played. It's kind of hard to really wrap my head around it.”
DeChambeau’s 67 was the best final round by three shots over Dustin Johnson, Erik van Rooyen and Taylor Pendrith.
“You have to be able to control your ball,” said Shane Lowry (72, 15 over), “You have to be able to chip and putt. If it was just about hitting the ball long, the long drivers would be out here playing in these major championships and they're not.”
The putting, in particular, has been a long time coming for the winner.
“My putting has gradually improved over the course of my career,” DeChambeau said. “I was dead last when I came out on Tour. Over the course of these four years, every year I've gotten a little bit better."
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