Monday Finish: DeChambeau putts his way to victory
July 17, 2017
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
Bryson DeChambeau charges down the stretch to win at John Deere
In the final round of the John Deere Classic, Bryson DeChambeau rolls in a 14-foot birdie putt to punctuate a final-round 65 and a one-shot win over Patrick Rodgers at TPC Deere Run.
Welcome to the Monday Finish, where DeChambeau, 23, fires a back-nine 30 to become the second straight first-time winner on the PGA TOUR, and the 10th overall this season.
1. Putting so often tells the story on TOUR, and it did again at the Deere, where DeChambeau was second in strokes gained: putting (1.873) for the week. Considering he was 195th in that stat (-.594) coming into the Deere, it was a huge improvement. And he didn’t even need to go side-saddle to do it. Also, DeChambeau’s birdie putt from 14 feet, 1 inch at the last, which he punctuated with an exuberant celebration, was his 15th made putt of more than 10 feet for the week. That was not only the best in the field, it was the best of his young career.
2. Patrick Rodgers, the 36- and 54-hole leader who bogeyed the relatively easy 14th and 17th holes to lose by a shot, looks like he’ll win sooner rather than later. It wasn’t like he gave away the Deere. He shot a 1-under 70, and very nearly holed a must-make chip shot from behind the 18th green. That chip shot, which must have taken DeChambeau’s breath away, is reason for optimism. So is the fact that Rodgers embraced being in the lead. With his solo second, he jumped all the way to 52nd in the FedExCup and is now well positioned for a deep playoff run.
3. Steve Stricker, who will captain the U.S. Presidents Cup team at Liberty National this fall, keeps proving he’s still relevant on TOUR. First the 50-year-old pride of Wisconsin got through sectional U.S. Open qualifying, then he finished T16 at Erin Hills, and now he’s gone 65-64 on the weekend to finish T5 at the Deere. Oh, and don’t look now, but Stricker heads to The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale this week after finishing fourth at Troon last year.
4. Although there are exceptions, players who do well at TPC Deere Run tend to keep doing well there. Of the six past champions in the Deere field, four finished in the top 10. Stricker, Zach Johnson and Jonathan Byrd all finished T5 at 15 under, and Brian Harman finished T10. Sean O’Hair finished MDF (missed the Saturday cut), and Ryan Moore missed the Friday cut. Then again, players who don’t do well at the Deere don’t lack hope for the future. In his only other start at TPC Deere Run as a sponsor’s exemption in 2015, DeChambeau missed the cut.
5. You can’t overstate the Tiger Effect on TOUR, a rush of great young players who watched golf on TV when Woods was in his prime and who are now hoisting trophies themselves. The latest 20-something winner, DeChambeau at the Deere, comes a week after 23-year-old Xander Schauffele at The Greenbrier Classic. If you’re doing the math at home, 22 of 36 wins on the PGA TOUR have come from 18 different players under 30. That’s a TOUR record, up from the previous single-season high of 16 players who won 22 times in 2013-14.
1. Only 11 players have won on TOUR the week prior to winning a major, most recently Rory McIlroy at the 2014 World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. He went on to win the PGA Championship the next week. The last player to do so before McIlroy was Woods at the 2007 WGC-Bridgestone followed by the PGA Championship.
2. Before DeChambeau’s performance at the Deere (1.873 in sg: putting, second best in the field) he had never ranked in the top 10 in that stat in any tournament. He also made a quantum leap in average distance of putts made, going from T182 on TOUR (67’ 4’’) entering the week to 5th (99’1’’) at the Deere.
3. Two stats that go nicely together: DeChambeau was just T32 in driving accuracy (75%) but was second in proximity to the hole on approach shots from the rough (23’1’’).
4. Rodgers’ solo second was his best result since a T4 at the Farmers Insurance Open, and his best result ever. (He finished T2 at the 2015 Wells Fargo Championship.) With his third top-10 finish this season, he vaulted from 62nd to 39th on the points list to make the U.S. Presidents Cup team that will take on the Internationals at Liberty National, Sept. 28-Oct. 1.
5. Of those on the bubble to make the U.S. team, Wells Fargo Championship winner Brian Harman helped himself the most. A past champion at the Deere, Harman finished T10 at TPC Deere Run this time around to move up to ninth on the points list. Winner DeChambeau still has his work cut out for him, having gone from 87th to 43rd. Another win would help that.
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Bryson DeChambeau holes epic putt for the Shot of the Day