Bryson DeChambeau showed up in Las Vegas this week to “knock off the rust.”
He did a lot more than that — he hit the big jackpot on Sunday at the Shriners Hospital extravaganza.
The man who nearly won the FedEx Cup last year, made a big move in that direction over the final 18 holes at the TPC Summerlin.
The young man who plays the game in such a different way won for the fourth time in this calendar year — the only player to do that. In reality, he got his 2019 off to a nail-biting start. He did it by outclassing a handful of wannabe champions. He did it with a dramatic eagle at the par five 16th then used his brand of scientific precision to take home his fifth career win — a mind boggling third in this last five appearances.
Bryson rallied late Saturday and grabbed a share of the 54-hole lead with Peter Uihlein, who played so very well the first three rounds. The final round would see a fierce challenge from defending champion Pat Cantlay, former U.S. Open winner Lucas Glover and Sam Ryder, who was sporting skin tight, above-the-ankle black pants that looked like he swiped them from some LPGA player’s luggage.
Uihlein would be not factor. He fell by the wayside early and would stumble in with a 75 that left him with a piece of 23rd place.
Glover tried to hang in there. He hasn’t won since 2011 and this was not his day either. He yipped a one-foot putt at the easy-birdie 15th then suffered a closing triple bogey that took him all the way back to 15-under par and a piece of seventh place.
Ryder put in the day’s most impressive round — a nine-birdie effort, including one on the 72nd hole that got him to 19-under. But that wasn’t good enough to catch DeChambeau.
Which left Cantlay.
Cantlay dogged DeChambeau all day and birdied the 16th to briefly take the lead at 20-under with DeChambeau watching in the fairway.
Minutes later, the tournament totally swung in DeChambeau’s direction.
He reached the back of the green in two while Cantlay found a bunker right of the green at 17. Staring at a 58-footer, DeChambeau got his putt moving toward the hole, it snaked its way down the green then found the bottom of the cup. A roar went out as if someone just hit the million dollar slot machine in one of the nearby casinos. Suddenly DeChambeau was 21-under. Cantlay hit a lousy bunker shot and made bogey.
The writing was on the wall.
Two pars later, Bryson was celebrating a one-shot victory. Cantlay’s closing birdie wasn’t enough.
“I was here just to kick the rust off,” said DeChambeau, who will rise to No. 5 when the world rankings come out this week. “I played some pretty good golf. I trust in my mechanics. I worked hard on the range this week. I don’t want to leave any stone unturned,” said the man who has taken his game into a foray inside the world of science.
As for Cantlay, he gave it all he had. “I played really well today. Made a lot of birdies, stayed aggressive — that was my plan. At that bunker on 17, I just hit a bad shot.”
And that was all DeChambeau needed to put another notch in his victory belt thanks to a closing 66.
“Incredibly special,” was how Chambeau left things.
When you look at his performance last year and this victory to get 2019 rolling and his lofty world ranking, well, it’s DeChambeau who appears to be incredibly special.