Forget the experience. Forget about faster hitters. Forget the detractors of social media.
All that matters: Bryson DeChambeau qualified Thursday for the final day of the Professional Long Drivers Association World Championship in Mesquite, Nevada. The same Bryson DeChambeau who four days earlier had helped the US team win the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin.
With erratic gusts of wind blowing across players’ faces, the 2020 US Open champion – at golf to golf, not the long haul – won two of his first four sets against three other competitors to lock in one of the 16 places in total on the last day of Friday. competition.
The players competed for points in five sets, with a group of 16 in the early afternoon competing for eight places and a group of 16 in the late afternoon competing for eight more places in the squad. final. DeChambeau was in the late afternoon group, and he finished tied for fourth among those 16 longball pitchers to advance.
DeChambeau’s longest explosions in each of the five sets covered 358, 338, 359, 333 and 333 yards. His shots of 358 and then 359 were among the five best balls hit by the 16 competitors in his group.
Those blows in the wind were a bit shorter than on day one, when DeChambeau hit five balls from over 400 yards. But length is relative in this muscular sport, and none of Thursday’s 32 contestants touched nearly 400 in the breeze. After Tuesday’s favorable winds on Day 1, the 64 competitors who reached Day 2 on Wednesday also had to face headwinds.
These winds turned out to be favorable to DeChambeau, which does not oscillate as fast as many of its competitors. But solid contact with controlled ball flight can pay off in the breeze. DeChambeau’s Trackman launch monitor figures, when available, were impressive – his best ball in his fifth set came with a clubhead speed of 144 mph, a ball speed of 213 mph, 227 yards range and a maximum height of 121 feet to travel 333 meters in total in the breeze to the right, as YouTube commenters reported during the live broadcast. The ball rolled considerably over the dryer right side of the landing grid.
None of DeChambeau’s long-ball successes should come as a total shock, even though the 28-year-old faced social media criticism ahead of the event that it was all just a publicity stunt. and that he was going to be out of his league. He proved those skeptics wrong day after day at Mesquite in his first effort in an elite long haul competition, crushing the ball in front of much more experienced veterans.
DeChambeau led the PGA Tour in the recently completed 2020-21 season with a driving average of 323.7 yards, and his longest trip on the Tour this season was 414 yards. His measured club head average speed on the discs was 132.25 mph, but he said he can go faster in training and confirmed it at the World Championship. The best players in elite long-distance competitions frequently exceed 140 mph at club head speed, and DeChambeau has shown he can exceed the 140 mark on the competitive launch monitor.
Keep in mind that this is all new for DeChambeau, winner of eight PGA Tour events. He even has a new club in his hands to maximize his yardage. It swings a 48-inch Cobra RADSpeed driver with an LA Golf Tour AXS Blue shaft – designed to create a low-spin, low-loft launch – that has been tilted an inch, making it even stiffer. On the Tour, he normally swings a Cobra rider under 46 inches and much easier to control.
The longest run on Day 2 came from Wes Patterson, who sent 381 yards in the early afternoon group. Colton Casto and Kyle Berkshire, the defending champion after winning the event in 2019 and the 2020 competition being canceled due to COVID-19, both hit 380 balls in that same Group A.
DeChambeau’s longest runs in Group B came from Scottie Pearman and Martin Borgmeier, both of whom reached 367 yards. Ryan Steenberg hit a 361 in the same group.
The players who qualified outside of Group A were Justin James, Casto, Bryce Verplank, Berkshire, Brandon Flynn, Patterson, Hyeon Jun Hong and Josh Koch. In Group B, the players to advance were Ryan Steenberg, Borgmeier, Zack Holton, Nick Vorbeck, Ryan Gregnol, Pearman, DeChambeau and Taiga Tazawa from China, whose festive antics won fans on social media.
Friday’s final will go from a group game to a one-on-one match between two players to win the title. The finals will begin at 6:45 p.m. ET (3:45 a.m. local time) and will be streamed live on the PLDA YouTube channel.