On the biggest and brightest stage, amateur golfer and Clovis native Bryson DeChambeau stood tall, turned some heads and became a household name with a memorable first-time showing at the Masters, played on April 7-10.
While many in the golfing world know of DeChambeau, the 2012 Clovis East graduate and 2015 U.S. Amateur Champion, he surely opened the eyes of many more after Friday’s second round, finishing even par and only four strokes behind then-leader Jordan Spieth, his playing partner and defending Masters Champion.
He shot a 77 on Saturday and 72 on Sunday, finishing tied for 21st place, and in the process earned respect on one of the more difficult golf courses in the world. At the awards ceremony held in the prestigious Butler Cabin, DeChambeau received the silver cup, awarded to the top amateur player.
Quite a four-day ride for the eccentric young man with an unlimited future. In fact, if he hadn’t biffed the 18th hole with a triple bogey on Friday who knows how the final two days would have unfolded – at that point he was only one stroke off the lead.
Yes, Clovis’ own Bryson DeChambeau, was one stroke from leading at the half-way point at the Masters, a tradition like no other.
“I was hitting it really well, and that ultimately allowed me to perform at a high level — a really high level, one that I know I can play in any tournament,” DeChambeau said after Friday’s round.
Despite Saturday’s five-over par that dropped him into a tie for 23rd place heading into the final round, DeChambeau rebounded nicely with a 72, including a front-nine score of 35.
And on his final shot of the tournament, on that bug-a-boo No. 18 (where he was 5-over the past two rounds), he nailed a putt to make birdie. If hole 18 was his kryptonite, then Sunday’s birdie made him feel like The Man of Steel.
“It started trickling down as I walked up,” DeChambeau said. “It was pretty exciting to see the ball come down, and to make that putt to end my amateur career was pretty special.”
On the following day, after clearly showing the world he belongs with the best of the best, the 22-year-old officially started his professional career.
And to kick off his pro career DeChambeau aligned himself with some heavy-hitting sponsors including Cobra Puma Golf. He’ll wear Puma brand clothes and shoes and will also carry a specifically designed set of irons. Puma will also create a specially designed Hogan driver cap. He’ll also be sponsored by Bridgestone, exclusively using their golf balls and gloves.
DeChambeau earned his Masters invite after winning the U.S. Amateur Championship on August 23 of last year. He also was the 2015 NCAA individual champion while enrolled at Southern Methodist University. He is one of only five players in the history of golf to win both events.
Surrounded by family and friends all week, DeChambeau relished every moment in the sun in Augusta, oftentimes conversing with the gallery and answering every media question like a seasoned veteran, perfectly balancing the realities of his game with the hard truth of what it takes to compete at this level.
His father, Jon, was able to follow his son’s performance on an electric scooter on Sunday after receiving dialysis on Saturday for his failing kidneys.
And this much is clear after busting out on the scene: Bryson DeChambeau is ready for the world and the world is ready for Bryson DeChambeau. He will play in next week’s Valero Texas Open, the AT&T Byron Nelson, Colonial, Memorial, Quicken Loans National and the Travelers Championship in an attempt to earn enough FedEx Cup points to secure Tour status.
And wouldn’t you know it, on his first PGA event as a pro, DeChambeau tied for fourth place at the HBC Heritage in Hilton Head, South Carolina, finishing with a strong 68 on the final day to shoot up the leader board.
But, the first of hopefully many Masters was one for the books, and one the hometown kid from Clovis will never forget.
“I honestly don’t have any words right now to describe how grateful I am to have that honor (top amateur score). It’s kind of choking me up because I never thought I would be here,” said DeChambeau. “To do it on Bobby Jones’ golf course is something else. It’s an honor that will stay with me forever and I’ll never forget this day.”
If this is the opening act, we can’t wait for the feature film.