NORTON, Mass. — Golf’s next young star has arrived.
If last week’s runaway win at The Northern Trust wasn’t enough to prove that Bryson DeChambeau is a budding superstar on the PGA Tour, then this week’s two-shot win at the Dell Technologies Championship better be.
A bunched leaderboard meant as many as 20 players had a legitimate chance to win Monday, but DeChambeau distanced himself from the pack with three straight birdies on the seventh, eighth and ninth holes and never looked back.
After a bogey at 13, DeChambeau bounced back as he confidently walked in his birdie putt at 15 to all but seal the deal on his second-consecutive win and third of the season. Justin Rose mounted a late charge with birdies on four of his final six holes, but it wasn’t enough, as DeChambeau never blinked down the stretch and finished with a 67 to win on 16-under 268.
“The wind was swirling all day. Once I got to the back nine I felt like it was swirling again just like Friday and Saturday,” DeChambeau said. “But I was fortunate enough to hit shots in the right place, miss it in the right place, and make a couple of key, clutch putts.”
DeChambeau becomes the first player since Vijay Singh in 2008 to sweep the first two legs of the FedEx Cup playoffs and will look to carry his good form across the pond as he will surely be selected as a captain’s pick for the US Ryder Cup team.
DeChambeau approaches the game very differently from most players on Tour. His single-length clubs, single-plane swing and endless talk about biomechanics can rub some people the wrong way, but DeChambeau doesn’t let the skeptics stop him.
A validation process that began when DeChambeau introduced himself to the golf world when he became just the fifth player (along with Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jack Nicklaus and Ryan Moore) to win both the NCAA Individual Championship and the US Amateur in the same year while at Southern Methodist University continues with each victory.
“I’m playing golf at the highest level and winning at the highest level,” DeChambeau said. “[I’m] consistently performing at the highest level, so there has to be some validity to it. Is everybody going to do it? No. But it works for me, and I believe that it’s going to benefit me in the future as well.”
DeChambeau may not have won over the entire golf world yet, but he has the endorsement of Tiger Woods, especially after DeChambeau dusted Woods by five shots when the two were paired together Sunday.
DeChambeau’s third-round 63 included the shot of the day as his 5-iron second shot at 18 settled just a foot away and led to a tap-in eagle that put him just one shot behind 54-hole leader Abraham Ancer.
Woods has certainly been impressed with what he’s seen from DeChambeau and believes the two would make an excellent pairing in the Ryder Cup.
“He’s competitive. He’s fiery,” Woods said earlier this week. “I know that we think about the game completely differently. I’m very much a feel oriented guy and he’s very much a numbers guy. But for some reason we get along great and we work. I understand what he’s saying. And he understands what I’m saying. And that’s been fun.”
With the win, DeChambeau guarantees himself the number one seed entering the Tour Championship no matter what happens at next week’s BMW Championship. While any player who arrives at East Lake in the top five of the FedEx Cup standings can clinch the cup with a win, DeChambeau controls his own destiny.
After beginning the year ranked 94th in the Official World Golf Ranking, DeChambeau will enter the top 10 for the first time next week as he moves to a career high seventh.
The 24-year-old won’t admit it, but he has firmly established himself amongst a strong class of young American stars who appear poised to dominate for years to come.
For such a scientific guy — DeChambeau grabbed headlines earlier this week when he mentioned that he used to play ping-pong against a robot growing up — he couldn’t quantify how much better he could get. But he knows there is room to grow.
“There is another level,” DeChambeau said.