DECHAMBEAU’S STORMING FINISH ENSURES DOUBLE CELEBRATION FOR CRUSHERS
SUGAR GROVE, Ill. – Bryson DeChambeau did the Bryson DeChambeau thing once again.
The Crushers GC Captain brought the Rich Harvest Farms course to its knees with an exceptional display of power-hitting, combined with short-game finesse to shoot an eight-under par 63. Starting the day eight shots behind overnight leader Sebsatian Munoz, he finished on 13-under par and won his second LIV Golf title of the season by one shot over teammate Anirban Lahiri and Ripper GC’s Marc Leishman.
It was agony and ecstacy for DeChambeau as he watched Lahiri (2-under) miss a par putt from 8 feet on the 18th hole. The Indian was looking for his first win in over eight years and led for most part of the round before three-putting the 15th hole for a bogey, and then three-putting again on the 18th after his second shot was just short of the green.
With Charles Howell III rediscovering his form on the final day with a four-under 67, and Paul Casey contributing a bogey-free 68, Crushers tallied 15-under for Sunday, which was seven shots better than the next best team. It was the second team title for DeChambeau’s men as they aggregated 33-under par to beat Fireballs by three shots.
It was the second team title of the season for Crushers, having won the inaugural event in Mayakoba. They swept both the titles in Mexico with Howell winning the individual trophy that week.
The win takes DeChambeau to third place in the season-long individual standings at 146 points, giving him a mathematical chance of beating Cameron Smith and Talor Gooch in Jeddah’s final event of regular season. Lahiri, who was second in Bedminster and third on countback in Chicago, improved to 10th place with 99 points.
In the team standings, Crushers moved past Torque GC to second place at 178 points, which more or less guarantees them a first-round bye in the Team Championship in Miami. Fifth-placed RangeGoats will have to win in Jeddah to possibly push Crushers out of the top-four.
DeChambeau has been an unstoppable force lately. He finished second in Andalucia with a final round 63 on a tough Valderrama course, and then blitzed Greenbrier with weekend round 61 and 58.
DeChambeau’s driver was on fire, but it was a magical 80-foot birdie putt on the 12th hole that kickstarted his run. Three-under par after his first eight holes, he pulled his tee shot slightly on the par-3 hole and appeared to be in three-putt territory. But what followed was sheer magic as he mapped his putt to perfection. He then added four more birdies, including a brace on the 17th and 18th.
Lahiri, who started the day three shots behind Munoz, made three birdies in his first five holes, and benefitted from his rival’s mistakes on the second, where he failed to make a birdie on the easiest hole of the golf course, and then dropped shots on the third and fourth.
The par-3 15th, with a difficult pin position to the left of the green, proved his undoing. His ball pitched some 15 feet right of the pin and caught the slope and ended 55 feet away. He three-putted for a bogey. Another three-putt from a similar distance but from off the green on the 18th handed the one-shot advantage to his Captain that proved critical.
“I wanted to go into a playoff and battle it out with my brother. He’s worked his butt off all year, and look, I couldn’t be happier that I won, but I feel so bad for him. I love him to death. He’s a grinder. He had this one, but I just luckily snuck in there and took it down today,” said DeChambeau who was greenside and hid his head when Lahiri missed the putt.
The Captain agreed that the 12th hole changed everything for him and said: “It flipped everything… I couldn’t believe it.”
“I kind of chunked a 9-iron a little bit and had an 80-footer. I was just trying to lag it up there, but it was going and it strikes the flag and takes some paint off it, but it went in. I dropped to the ground. I was like, ‘I can't believe I just made that’. I just went on a roll from there.”
Despite the heartbreak of not winning the individual title, Lahiri could take some solace from the team win.
“I think all four of us would agree that you’re trying to win the tournament outright first. Anyone who says otherwise is lying,” said Lahiri, who has three previous second-place finishes in Boston last year and Adelaide and Bedminster this season.
“But yes, the team win was something that we all knew that we needed to pull off. If you look at the last few events, I don’t think we’ve been off the podium, and we’ve had one or two bad days.
“We had a tough day yesterday, as well, but it just shows how much depth we have in the team and how solid we are behind each other. I think all of us together really want this.
“We were not happy with how things ended last year. We want to correct that, and I think our late-season form is trending, and we want to take it forward for two more weeks.”
Disappointed with his finish, Lahiri was determined to go one better and said: “I will do this again next Sunday and again the Sunday after that and again and keep doing it because there’s only so many times before I break that door.”