ORLANDO, Fla. – Bryson DeChambeau enjoyed the opportunity to try and drive the green at the Bay Hill Club’s par-5 sixth hole and celebrated as if he had done it Saturday during the third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
DeChambeau’s drive, which crossed a huge lake, finished 50 yards to the right of the green, but traveled 370 yards and rolled down the fairway into the rough. The hole measures 555 yards and no player on the course has hit his tee shot this close to the green.
He ended up throwing a wedge shot from the rough to the front of the green and then making two putts for an easy birdie from about 35 feet.
“I felt like a kid again, sure. It was exciting,” DeChambeau said after a 68 put him within a shot of 54-hole leader Lee Westwood. “Especially when you do it. It was almost like winning a tournament. I had the same chills and feelings when I saw it clearly and there was no splash. I gave the fans what they wanted.
DeChambeau, the reigning US Open champion whose well-known diet and fitness regimen for the past 18 months has seen him gain muscle and over 40 pounds, has become the leading rider on the PGA Tour. Last year he led with an average of more than 322 yards per series.
To get to the green from the tee Saturday, DeChambeau said he would have needed to carry his drive 335 yards, which he did. I avoided going directly to the green due to the wind conditions.
DeChambeau made a couple of attempts during Wednesday’s pro-am that fell short due to the wind. That led him to take a more conservative route for the first two rounds, sparking some playful boos. He has birdied the hole in two of three rounds.
The encouragement of the spectators behind the tee encouraged DeChambeau, he said.
“For the most part it’s a shot that I know I can do and was able to pull off,” he said. “I would have done it without the fans, but the fans definitely cheered me on a bit and it was fun to give them what they wanted.