Bryson DeChambeau through to final 32 of Long Drive World Championships
September 29, 2021
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
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PGA TOUR star Bryson DeChambeau’s quest for a world long drive title remains alive after he surged to the final 32 of the Professional Long Drivers of America World Championships in Mesquite, Nevada.
DeChambeau silenced the critics by breezing through from the final 64 to the final 32 competitors on Wednesday afternoon at the Mesquite Regional Sports and Event Complex.
Fresh off helping the U.S. Ryder Cup team to victory, DeChambeau finished second in his 16-man group with 800 points, cruising to the next round by winning three of his five sets.
The Open Division that began with 80 players, was whittled to 64 on Tuesday, and then slashed in half in tough gusting winds throughout Wednesday’s play. DeChambeau will now return Thursday in a bid to make the final 16 on Friday where a winner will be crowned.
On Wednesday four 16-man groups competed in five four-man sets. A player earned 200 points for winning a set, 100 points for finishing second and 50 points for finishing third with the top eight of each group advancing.
DeChambeau started impressively in his opening set, finding the grid with all six balls, topping out at 351 yards. It was good enough for second place, losing top spot to Ryan Steenberg’s final second 353-yard effort.
But the eight-time TOUR winner smashed one 355-yards to win his second set, a result that put him on the road to advancement. A 351-yard drive in his third set to be second all but secured his place to Thursday but it was official with a 347-yard slap in his fourth set that was good enough to win.
The fifth set was a mere formality, but DeChambeau pummeled a 328-yard effort into a stiff wind all the same for another set win to close it out.
“What he’s doing is obviously wonderful for the sport. He’s a good guy. He has a very altruistic desire to help the sport out. It’s great to have someone appreciate what the guys can do out here,” former world champion and fellow competitor Kyle Berkshire said.
“He took a big leap of faith and put himself in a vulnerable position to compete out here and he’s backed it up with his performance. He’s doing the PGA TOUR really proud.”
Berkshire has been an advocate of DeChambeau’s quest to compete and says those expecting less of the former U.S. Open champion are way off base. He expects DeChambeau to seriously threaten making the final 16 and beyond.
“The competition is going to get even more serious now which is great to see. I think Bryson has a gear we haven’t seen yet, I expect we will see him close to 220mph ball speed,” Berkshire, who also cruised to the final 32, said.
“If he comes out and wins a set or two tomorrow, which I think he can do especially getting so many balls in play, he absolutely has a great chance to advance further.”
The live-stream announcer alongside DeChambeau was gung-ho on DeChambeau’s chances of making it to the end.
“We are close to Vegas and they’ve got odds on him making the final eight. I’m getting on it for sure,” he said. “He’s ruining our long-drive reputations because not only can he hit the long ball but he can chip and putt as well!”
The announcers also confirmed DeChambeau will not take any money for his performance, donating anything he wins back into the purse for the other competitors.