Now that’s what you call having the last laugh. Bryson DeChambeau, the man ridiculed for putting on three stones in weight, the player laughed at for thinking he could bully Winged Foot, is the new US Open Champion.
The 27 year old American claimed his first major championship in astonishing style with the only round under par all day, demolishing the most difficult course on the US Open rota and everyone else in the field in the process.
The final victory margin over Matt Wolff was no fewer than six shots following a brilliant 67, as he broke the spirit of the 21 year old over the back nine. No disgrace in that for Wolff, of course, who put in a fabulous debut showing in America’s national championship.
Bryson DeChambeau is the new US Open champion for 2020 after a stunning final round
The American proved his doubters wrong with a stunning performance in New York on Sunday
South African Louis Oosthuizen finished third while Rory McIlroy was joint 8th after a disappointing 75.
It would be easy to say DeChambeau muscled his way to victory but trite. The most important club in his bag was actually his putter, as he stroked home four putts over 20ft in a wonderful display on arguably the most treacherous greens in the sport.
That much talked about driver wasn’t bad, mind. It’s worth pointing out that while the field averaged hitting 39% of fairways on the final day, DeChambeau, despite hitting it so much further, averaged nearer 50 per cent.
With some exquisite iron shots and a nifty touch around the greens, it added up to one of the great final rounds in US Open history.
He distanced 21-year-old Matt Wolff who was superb on his debut in the tournament
When the sport went into lockdown last March, DeChambeau hadn’t a single top ten to his name in a major. It’s now well-documented how he changed his body shape to swing much harder and render traditional courses obsolete with his power.
The results speak for themselves. A victory in a regular PGA Tour event was followed by a tied fourth finish in the USPGA Championship last month. Now this wonder show from the Mad Scientist for this mad world, who has challenged the accepted wisdom of his sport and may well have sparked a revolution going forward.
By the time DeChambeau joined Wolff on the first tee, it was quite plain this was going to be a typical final US Open round, with the course on the edge and pars things of beauty on virtually every hole.
The opening hole had wreaked havoc, so how would the leaders fare? Two boomers down the middle followed by two wonderful approach shots. It wasn’t just off the tee where the two pacemakers were playing a different game.
DeChameau sought to assert his authority over the 21-year-old by making big strides forward
DeChambeau quickly stamped his authority on his younger opponent, turning a two shot deficit overnight into a one stroke advantage over the first eight holes.
The par five ninth, the only breather hole on the course, was quite something. Two more great drives from the pair, with DeChambeau hitting his approach to 40ft and rolling in the eagle putt. Wolff’s response was exquisite, hitting his short iron to 20ft and rolling in an eagle putt of his own. Talk about setting up the final nine.
It was DeChambeau who kept the hammer down. He went two ahead after a Wolff bogey at the 10th and then holed a 20ft birdie putt at the 11th. The Californian kept on going further and further away as Wolff got more desperate and made mistakes.
McIlroy’s 21st major championship since his last victory came and went with him no nearer to finding the key to unlocking his six year drought.
The Northern Irishman began the final round six shots off the lead, buoyed by his third round 68. ‘I’m right in it,’ he declared on Saturday night.
DeChameau put on three stones ahead of the tournament in an effort to improve his game
On Sky Sports, Paul McGinley pointed out he would need help from the leaders to have a chance, a valid argument that presumed McIlroy would actually help himself. The hope he could do that lasted not much longer than his opening drive, where he split the fairway.
Thereafter, it was a nervous horror show with the club that has let him down so often in the past. He had just a wedge but the result left him a nightmare opening putt over one of Winged Foot’s most treacherous slopes. He’d need four in all to complete the hole for a calamitous double bogey.
McIlroy holed gutsy putts on the next two holes for pars, but then came the fourth. Another wedge approach. Another one undercooked. Another bogey. Three strokes gone from two wedge approaches. At the short 7th, McIlroy had another short iron in his hands and again wrote down another bogey. Game over.
Still, a top eight finish in the major that suits him least was something to build on, as he plots his schedule leading up to the one that means most of all to him these days – the Masters in November.