Bryson DeChambeau, the long-driving scientific golfer, might just have met his match in Augusta National, where he made a back-nine charge Friday to make the cut at the 85th Masters.
The reigning US Open champion has trouble sorting out Augusta National and admits it might defy his techniques.
“I don’t think you can ever figure this place out. There are so many things going on around here,” DeChambeau said.
“The wind makes it diabolical. It’s flying around through these trees and bouncing off the trees and making it feel into the wind when it should be downwind, and vice versa.
“I don’t think you’ll ever be able to figure it out, but I’ve just got to be more comfortable.”
DeChambeau is known for his ultra-long drives and using greens books and calibration tools to help him putt, but Augusta National rules and course layout take the aids out of his hands and limit how useful his biggest club can be.
“It’s my biggest match for sure,” DeChambeau said of Augusta National. “Not having the help that sometimes I have on the golf course at other venues with greens books and the calibration tools that I usually use, it’s definitely a test.
“I’m willing to stand up to and try and face the challenge and try and conquer it. It’s an interesting challenge for me, and I love it.”
DeChambeau birdied four of the last six holes to jump from the cut line to shoot five-under par 67 and stand on one-under 143 after 36 holes.
DeChambeau says he feels like he’s solving some of the problems Augusta presents.
“Especially on the putting green. I finally felt like I was seeing lines out there for the first time in five years it feels like,” he said. “That excites me for sure.”
“If I could just ball strike it a little bit better. Felt like my iron play was great. We didn’t hit it long too many times today. I was proud of that. If I can keep myself in a positive mindset and towards making a lot of birdies, you never know.”
– ‘Just didn’t execute’ –
DeChambeau struggled to manufacture the same sorts of shots that brought him success at Winged Foot last September for his first major title in the crucible of Augusta National.
“For me it was just execution,” said DeChambeau. “There were times I didn’t execute again.
“For some reason every year I get here, I’m playing pretty well coming in and I don’t execute the way I want to. Today was nice to be able to get it back and shoot 5-under, get myself somewhat in contention.
“Just being more comfortable at this golf course and being able to execute better, I think that’s what matters most to me.”
DeChambeau still finds himself trying to make Augusta National play to his style, a notoriously bad idea.
“Sometimes I’m trying to force things in certain areas, and as time went on a got a little more comfortable saying, hey, over here is fine,” he said.
“I feel like as time goes on, I’ll continue to learn those little things and make sure that I’m not making the simple mistakes that cost me having a chance.”