It is Open Championship week, and unsuspecting golfers will now get a chance to play for the Claret Jug. One of whom qualified literally one day before Monday’s practice round. Bryson DeChambeau is the PGA Tour’s most recent winner after a score of 18-under put him above the competition at the John Deere Classic.
The name should sound familiar. The 23-year-old is known for his style and his scientific approach to the game. Two years ago, the former SMU golfer became the fifth player to win the NCAA individual title and U.S. Amateur in the same year.
The dewy-eyed Modesto, California native turned professional after the 2016 Masters Championship where he fell just outside the top 20 and tied for 21st place after shooting 5-over for the tournament.
Fast forward to 2017 and DeChambeau is now able to put PGA Tour winner on his resume. His impressive final day, and even more impressive back nine that put him one stroke over Patrick Rodgers for the victory. He birdie four of the final six holes, and made a 14-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to put the pressure on Rodgers.
Rodgers buckled under pressure, DeChambeau thrived under it. But there’s more to this win then vindication. He has a unique tie to TPC Deere Run in Hampton Township, Illinois that would later send the young star into tears upon its realization.
It’s not secret that Payne Stewart is hero of DeChambeau’s, just look at their attire. DeChambeau sports the same Hogan-style cap Stewart was famous for. They both come from the same Alma Mater, and both devilishly handsome in their prime.
Rewind to 1981 and that year’s Quad Cities Open (which is now known as the John Deere Classic) where Stewart took home his first title on tour. This win had a special meaning for Stewart, as it was the only time in his short career that his father saw him win.
For DeChambeau, it was just as meaningful.
“It’s pretty special to have my first win be here,” DeChambeau said.
“Didn’t know Payne Stewart’s first win was here, and that broke me. He’s done some amazing things for the game of golf, and I hope I can do something similar down the road.”
Now, 36 years later on the same course DeChambaeu’s travels down the road of PGA Tour winner begin. The next stop: Royal Birkdale Golf Club.