DeChambeau blasts his way to 62 and lead in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Bryson DeChambeau showed off another power display on Thursday and it worked just as well as it did when he won the US Open.
On his first start since winning at Winged Foot last month, DeChambeau had two putt birdies on all three par 5s and two par 4s en route to a 9-under-62 and a one-shot lead at Shriners Hospitals for Children open.
It matched his career slump and that was all that disappointed him at TPC Summerlin. He knew his 15-foot eagle putt was off the edge of the par-5 ninth for his best result on the PGA Tour.
"I wasn't happy it didn't go in, but I'll take a 62," said DeChambeau, who won the tournament two years ago. “I'm very happy with the way I played today. I didn't do my best, but I put it in all the right places many times today. "
Patrick Cantlay, a winner and twice runner-up in his last three Las Vegas appearances, did his best to catch him. Cantlay made a 12-foot birdie putt for a 63 on the 18th. His only flaw was a long three-putt bogey on the 14th.
"The birdies will come out of here if you are patient and play smart," said Cantlay. "They did it today, so hopefully the next three days will be more the same."
Harold Varner III, Scott Harrington, Nate Lashley and Austin Cook were also at 63. Six players were at 64. Without wind and warm air, the course played almost 3 strokes under par.
It's easy to miss when DeChambeau swings at the fences - he actually cleared the fence Wednesday and made a dent in a parking lot behind the reach - but he had a pair of 10-foot par-par parades and made his first Birdie at number 12 with an 18-foot putt.
DeChambeau easily reached the 15th hole with a length of 314 meters, the beginning of a dynamic target course at the TPC Summerlin. It was more impressive to crush the driver on the seventh hole with a length of 381 meters towards the end of his lap. The ball rolled onto the green to about 15 feet while the group in front of it was still betting.
"I felt incredibly bad about it," said DeChambeau. “Little did I know they were on the green. They were ahead of us all day and I felt like they were off the green on the 7th because we'd taken some of the holes beforehand. That was my mistake and I felt very bad. "
He said he would find Chesson Hadley among those in that group to apologize.
"It was fun hitting it at 15 feet," said DeChambeau.
Sergio Garcia, who won a win in Mississippi last week, opened with a 66. Former British Open champion Francesco Molinari shot 70 in his first competition since the COVID-19 pandemic halted golf on March 13.
This was a big statement from DeChambeau in his first round since winning the US Open. At Winged Foot, he took a unique approach, trying to hit it as far as possible on each hole. He realized that it would be difficult for anyone to hit the narrow, curved fairways so that they could get as close to the green as possible.
It was the perfect recipe for Las Vegas, with the warm desert air and hardly a breath of wind. The typical score for this tournament was low and only six of the 72 players who tied that morning failed to break the par.
This is the only tournament DeChambeau wants to play on November 12th and 15th before the Masters. This means there are two large, uncut fields to be skipped over in Las Vegas and California over the next two weeks. He wants time to work on a 48-inch driver for Augusta National, as seen in Long Drive Championship competitions.
DeChambeau played alongside two other big hits, US Open runner-up Matthew Wolff and Cameron Champ who made it to DeChambeau without looking like he was trying so hard. Champ had a 67, Wolff a 68.
Nobody was happier than Rob Oppenheim, the first deputy, who arrived at the course 30 minutes before the first start time at 6:45 a.m. He braced himself for a long day and instead received a slap on the shoulder when Greg Chalmers pulled back from the 7:55 p.m. start time. At 64, Oppenheim was in the group that included Emiliano Grillo, Andrew Landry, and Brian Stuard.
"I tried to qualify by Monday and missed it in a playoff. So it's a full bonus just to get into the field," said Oppenheim. “You never know when a start time is. I was lucky enough to receive that call and get off to a great start. "
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