Bryson DeChambeau Wins Shriners Open with Clutch Eagle Down the Stretch
by Kent Whitaker Scores & Statson
The PGA Tour returned fully to the United States following the three-tournament run known as the Asian Swing and the light field at the Sanderson Farms Open in Mississippi. The fall phase of the Tour kicked off with the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas in style as Bryson DeChambeau won his fifth tournament with a clutch putt down the stretch during the final round of play.
The win came following three days of solid play which kept him within reach of Shriners Open defending Champion Patrick Cantlay. It was Cantlay that was gearing up for the win as DeChambeau sunk a long putt for Eagle on the 16th hole during the final round. At about the same time, Cantlay missed an opportunity and carded a bogey on the 17th hole as he tried to hole in from a bunker.
The two switched positions on the leaderboard with DeChambeau going from one-shot down to sole leader by two-strokes. DeChambeau switched from trying to repeat another eagle, or even a birdie, to playing safe golf. The twenty-five-year-old player from California went par for the remaining two holes to finish with a one-stroke lead over Cantlay.
DeChambeau told reporters following his win that he would have been happy to have just played “some good golf” following a few weeks on the schedule where he did not play. His last round of professional play came during the Tour Championship. He did not play in any of the three Asian Swing events or the Sanderson Farms tournament.
“I was coming out here to try and kick rust off and was able to play some good golf,” DeChambeau said. “I'm happy to get it done.”
Cantlay, on the other hand, was not as happy with his finish. If he had won the event, it would have marked the first back-to-back winner of the tournament in fifteen years. Cantlay moved out in front of a pack of four to five players bunched together towards the top of the leaderboard. He dropped a 15-foot putt on 16 with DeChambeau playing behind him. The putt on the par-five-hole putt him up front by one stroke.
Then Cantlay found the bunker on 17 as DeChambeau moved to sixteen. The 26-year-old player, also from California, flubbed the bunker shot forcing a bogey about the same time DeChambeau was carding his eagle putt.
“When I dug my left foot in, it didn't have a bunch of sand, and then obviously when I hit my shot there was more sand under the ball and didn't anticipate that,” Cantlay said following the final round. “It was a tricky one and I hit a poor shot.”
Not Enough to Win
Cantlay, following the poor bunker shot on the 17th hole, moved onto the final tee box with hopes of salvaging the win. If he could birdie to finish while hoping DeChambeau would stumble, then a playoff might be forced. Cantlay did his part, he fired off a nice tee shot on eighteen while managing a great approach shot which put him in position for finishing with a birdie closing at 65 on the day with a 264 over four rounds. All Cantlay could do was wait for DeChambeau to hopefully stumble. He didn’t.
DeChambeau protected his lead even though Cantlay had narrowed it from two strokes to one. The eventual winner pared both the 17 and 18 holes for the win by one stroke going 66 on the day and 263 for the event.
“I played really well today - made a bunch of birdies which was my plan,” Cantlay said as he and an NBC talked while watching DeChambeau finishing. “Stayed aggressive all day – will just come up a little bit short.”
Leaderboard of Shriners Open through T15
Sam Ryder followed DeChambeau and Cantlay with a solid tournament finishing 19-under for the event and alone in third place. The rest of the field began to bunch up with three players tied for both fourth and seventh while multiple players were locked up in ties going 14 under and 13 under.
Tony Finau, one of the favorites to win the event, finished a disappointing T36 at 10-under with Jordan Spieth doing even worse. Spieth finished T55 with Chris Stroud at 7-under. Matt Kuchar finished T57 with a handful of other players at and several other players at 6 under.