LOS ANGELES: Bryson DeChambeau, playing his first PGA event since winning last month’s US Open, fired a nine-under-par 62 to seize the lead after Thursday’s opening round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
World number six DeChambeau matched his PGA career-low round, including a career-best run of five consecutive birdies, in surging to the top of the leaderboard at par-71 TPC Summerlin in suburban Las Vegas.
“It was a great day to play well,” DeChambeau said. “There’s no wind out here for the most part and you feel like you can bomb it everywhere and hit wedges close.
“And I was lucky enough to make a lot of putts to start off my day.”
The 27-year-old American’s strategy of blasting the ball as far as possible with little worry about landing in the rough brought his first major victory at Winged Foot and a bogey-free round on Thursday.
“I’m playing well and I feel like I have my golf swing under control and putting well,” DeChambeau said. “I feel like I can shoot low on a lot of golf courses and usually that wins tournaments.”
Americans Austin Cook, Nate Lashley, Scott Harrington, Patrick Cantlay and Harold Varner shared second on 63 with Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo and Americans Brian Stuard, Bronson Burgoon, Andrew Landry, James Hahn and Rob Oppenheim next on 64.
Back-nine starter DeChambeau made seven birdies in eight holes starting with an 18-foot putt at the par-4 12th, followed by a six-footer for birdie at the par-5 13th and a tap-in par at the par-3 14th. Then came his birdie run starting at 15, with the only final putt beyond five feet coming at the first when he dropped in one from just over 11 feet. He drove onto the green at the par-4 seventh and sank a two-foot birdie putt, then reached the fringe in two at the par-5 ninth and tapped in for birdie to seize the lead.
THE ADVANTAGE OF POWER
“I’m very pleased with how I played,” DeChambeau said. “Didn’t hit it my best but I put it in the right spots a lot of the time.”
DeChambeau, who won the Shriners event in 2018 and shared fourth last year, fired his only prior PGA 62 in the second round of last year’s 3M Open at Minneapolis.
This was the second year in a row at the Shriners that DeChambeau made a back-nine 30 in his opening round. His only other back-nine score so low came in the final round of his 2017 victory at the John Deere Classic.
In what he expects to be his only tune-up event for next month’s Masters, DeChambeau found 11 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens in regulation or better. — AFP
US PGA Shriners Open scores
First round (USA unless noted, par-71):
62 – Bryson DeChambeau
63 – Austin Cook, Harold Varner, Scott Harrington, Patrick Cantlay, Nate Lashley
64 – Brian Stuard, Emiliano Grillo (ARG), Andrew Landry, Rob Oppenheim, James Hahn, Bronson Burgoon
65 – Sepp Straka (AUT), Brian Harman, Brice Garnett, Zach Johnson, Cameron Davis (AUS), Martin Laird (SCO), Louis Oosthuizen (RSA), Michael Gligic (CAN)