Las Vegas, Nev. — As Bryson DeChambeau lined up for eagle from just off the par-5 16th green, he conferred with his caddie Tim Tucker.
Both read the putt in a similar manner and viewed the double-breaker, 57’7″ putt as relatively straight.
For the first time all day, DeChambeau was trailing, and the par-5 provided a legitimate opportunity to catch up to Patrick Cantlay’s lead.
As DeChambeau’s putt slowly trickled towards the hole, the TPC Summerlin gallery rose to its feet in a crescendo, essentially trying to will the ball in.
Meanwhile on the par-3 17th, Cantlay got his ball into a greenside bunker and was struggling to get out of trouble.
Cantlay’s predicament was compounded when a loud roar came from the 16th hole. DeChambeau had made his eagle putt, the second longest putt of his career, though it will not be marked as such in the record books.
“When I hit it, it had pretty solid speed off the start,” DeChambeau said. “Then I saw it about halfway down there and I was thinking it might be a little fast. For whatever reason the slope gradually declined and went to about like a 2% slope and the ball started just rolling perfectly to the right just like I had envisioned. It just held straight that last little bit and was able to trickle in. I haven’t given a reaction like that in a while.”
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) November 4, 2018
With DeChambeau back in the lead, Cantlay would bogey the 17th hole and though he was able to birdie the last, it was not enough.
DeChambeau was able to record a two-putt par on the par-4 18th hole to secure his fifth career PGA TOUR win and third in his last five starts by winning the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
“I felt like I played well all day,” said DeChambeau. “A couple errant shots, a little bit of nerves. I was able to control the situation each time it came up. That’s what really led me to claim victory this week, I really believe that.”
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) November 4, 2018
DeChambeau moves to fifth both in the FedExCup and Official World Golf Ranking with this victory.
Cantlay was the defending champion of the event, and brought himself into contention Saturday after firing an 8-under par 63 and as DeChambeau and others atop the leaderboard were unable to capitalize on their respective positions.
Though he was fast charging, the 17th hole unquestionable proved to be his undoing. He did however move to seventh in the FedExCup standings.
“When I dug my left foot in it didn’t have a bunch of sand, and then obviously when I hit my shot there was more sand under the ball and didn’t anticipate that,” he said. “It was a tricky one and I hit a poor shot. I really got off to a slow start Friday, or Thursday and Friday, and that was too much to overcome. I played really well this weekend and I’m proud of that.”
Sam Ryder, fired a career-low round of 9-under par 62 and set his own personal low 72-hole score, making 15 birdies and recording no bogeys in his last 28 holes.
This solo third-place finish moves Ryder to 10th in the FedExCup standings.
“I just made maybe the best ball striking round of my life,” Ryder said. “I wish I could have had the one back on 16. I mean, I want to go laser that after the day’s over. I said, ‘Be right’, and I thought that was perfect. I could not have hit it better, just came up a little short.”
Rickie Fowler tied for fourth place providing a final-day charge with a 63 and earning his 38th career top-five finish. This was his lowest career final-round score.
“I felt good on the range,” said Fowler. “Really my body was probably the best it’s felt all week. I told Butch (Harmon) when we were leaving the range this morning, ‘We’re just going to go knock down pins’.”
Abraham Ancer earned his second top-five finish in three starts this season and this result matches that from last season’s Quicken Loans National for his career-high.
Robert Streb rounded out the trio of golfers that tied for fourth and in doing so earned his second top-10 finish in four starts at TPC Summerlin.
Third round co-leader Peter Uihlein was unable to maintain his momentum, posting a four-over par round of 75 which dropped him to T23.
Inside the win
It almost was not a golden night for DeChambeau after spending Saturday evening at TMobile Arena.
DeChambeau came into TPC Summerlin with a bandaged finger from starting up a horn prior to the third period of the Las Vegas Golden Knights game.
“I went a little too hard on the air horn and it was like a blister that ripped off just a little bit bigger than a dime size on my hand,” he said. “I was freaking out and actually put Nu-Skin on it this morning and it dried up and dried my hands too quickly. Then I opened my hand and it cracked and split. Essentially I tried to put some lotion on just to moisturize it a little bit again. We did that and it started feeling better, and then the guys at the player performance center were able to wrap me up pretty nicely. Every time I clenched my fist a little bit too hard or hit a shot that was a little bit too steep I definitely felt a pull on it. But, hey, I gave that thing a whirl and got the crowd pumped up for the third quarter and they went on to win, so, hey, more power to them and more power to me I guess.”
As far as DeChambeau’s round went, he birdied the first hole and on the third hole was able to make a 6’5″ downhill putt to save his par and offered a fist pump coming off the green.
It seemed as if that would provided a momentum boost after he converted a two-foot birdie putt on the next hole, but several missed opportunities seemed to halt his progress as others started to catch up.
One of those missed opportunities occurred on the seventh hole and then DeChambeau had a longer than usual wait on the par-3 eighth hole after Harold Varner III hit his approach well left.
DeChambeau and playing partner Peter Uihlein did the same and the former’s approach stayed at the top of the slope.
After that bogey, DeChambeau looked at the leaderboard for the first time, and it showed him that the field was catching up. At the same time, a patron specifically mentioned that others were catching up to which DeChambeau replied that he heard the comment.
DeChambeau concluded the front-nine by recording a birdie from 17’1″ which allowed him to be tied with fellow playing partner Lucas Glover. A hole later, a three-footer gave DeChambeau the outright lead once again, though he again hit a dry spell.
The reachable par-4 15th hole seemed to agitate DeChambeau the most as he missed the green just to the right and after a pitch shot missed a birdie putt just outside of six feet. After tapping in for par, DeChambeau threw his golf ball into the desert and walking between holes screamed an obscenity.
Any anger DeChambeau had was directed towards the drive which was 321 yards, his second-longest tee shot which found the fairway in the round.
“Quite honestly, going back to the 16th tee shot, I knew I had to hit it in the fairway to have a chance and to make eagle even, because I thought (Patrick Cantlay) was going to get to 21 and I needed 22 to win,” said DeChambeau.
As previously stated, DeChambeau made the eagle and did not make any mistakes on the final two holes, which was enough to secure the victory.
It was a driving clinic most of the week as DeChambeau found 44 of 56 fairways, which placed him fourth in the field and included all 14 fairways hit Saturday.
DeChambeau attributed this to a new Cobra F9 driver he put in the bag and stated it helped him win this week.
What made this win special was that DeChambeau had his family with him all week and it was the first time his brother and mother saw him win.
This win was another notch for DeChambeau but also proved to him that he was still fresh despite taking a few weeks off and that what happened last season was not an accident.
“There is obviously a lot of things that have to go right for you to win on the PGA TOUR, it’s very, very difficult,” DeChambeau said. “I learned the hard way my first year and a half on tour missing 14 cuts in a row, and I realized I had to change my game if I wanted to compete out here. Last year I saw some signs of something great and I didn’t know what it meant. Didn’t know where it would lead me. It certainly led me I think in the right direction I think so far.”
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) November 5, 2018
DeChambeau by the numbers
6th in strokes gained off the tee 4.011
1st in strokes gained tee to green 13.550
Hit 44 of 56 fairways (4th)
Strokes Gained Approaching the Green: 7.013 (3rd)
Strokes Gained Around the Green: 2.526 (7th)
Strokes Gained Putting: -0.916/53rd on Sunday 0.346/45th overall
Made 56’9″ of putts Sunday, lowest total this week.
Three bogeys all week
73rd PGA TOUR start
Was a bogey-free 16-under par on the back-nine
Bogey-free first and third rounds
Had longest drive (349 yards) the second hole Sunday
.@B_DeChambeau's last 5 starts on TOUR:
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) November 5, 2018
Shriners Hospitals for Children Open Final Leaderboard
1. Bryson DeChambeau -21
2. Patrick Cantlay -20
3. Sam Ryder -19
T4. Rickie Fowler -17
T4. Abraham Ancer -17
T4. Robert Streb -17
T7. Lucas Glover -15
T7. Chesson Hadley -15
T7. Ryan Palmer -15
T10. Bud Cauley -14
T10. Brandon Harkins -14
T10. Scott Piercy -14
T10. Joaquin Niemann -14
T10. Gary Woodland -14
Jordan Spieth had a weekend to forget ultimately tying for 55th place after a promising start Thursday. Spieth was trying out a new 3-wood and will go back to his old clubs until he finds something that suits his game.
“I just kind of lost the swing a little bit and I got some tough breaks, really did,” he said. “I had couple plug lies, couple divots early in the round that I made a couple bogeys off from birdie positions. Then from there just kind of hard to stay motivated, I guess. Made some birdies coming in; double on the back. Guy yells, ‘mashed potatoes’ right at impact, and I snapped it and it hits a rock and goes out of bounds. Just that kind of stuff that happened a little bit this weekend on the break side of things that held me back.”
There were five bogey-free rounds on the day in Sam Ryder (62), Rickie Fowler (63), Brandon Harkins (64), Joaquin Niemann (66) and Alex Prugh (69)… At this time, there is no official announcement as to whether this event will be returning next year.
Photo credit: PGA TOUR