SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Big things were expected of Bryson DeChambeau at the PGA Championship and the bulked-up American delivered for the most part as he blasted his way to a tie for fourth at TPC Harding Park on Sunday.
DeChambeau has been the talk of the golf world since the PGA Tour’s June resumption, bringing an extra 20 pounds of muscle and impressing rivals with startling distance off the tee.
He credited his brawn for victory at the Rocket Mortgage Classic a month ago but there were still questions as to whether his power-packed game would stand up to the added pressure of a major.
Those doubts were largely put to rest as the 26-year-old recorded his first top-five finish at a major, closing with a four-under 66 to finish three behind winner Collin Morikawa.
“That’s an awesome accolade, and next step is to win,” DeChambeau said of his week.
“I feel like my game is good enough.
“And … I’m just proud of the way I handled myself, that I was able to still keep executing when times got tough and kept my head up high.”
Three shots behind overnight leader Dustin Johnson, DeChambeau threw down the gauntlet with four birdies in his first seven holes but stumbled with bogeys on eight and nine.
He grinded his way back with birdies at 14 and 16 but was unable to put further heat on compatriot Morikawa.
It was still a memorable tournament for the six-times PGA Tour winner, who snapped his driver during the opening round after a 296-yard tee-shot on the seventh and on Saturday rolled in a 95-foot birdie putt on the 18th.
“It’s super validating. I don’t know how else to put it. Very excited for the future for me,” said DeChambeau, adding that he expected his driving to get “stronger and farther”.
“Hopefully … (it) gives me a really distinct advantage that helps me win a lot out here.”
(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford)