Bryson Dechambeau, a former US amateur champion, sank a 14-foot birdie putt on the final hole to capture his maiden PGA Tour victory in the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run in Illinois on Sunday
The tall, 23-year-old American charged home with six birdies on the back loop to close with a sizzling 65 and finish with an 18-under-par 266 total that was one stroke too good for fellow American Patrick Rodgers, whose bogey at the par-five 17th ultimately cost him the chance of a playoff.
DeChambeau, a physics major who is as well known for his revolutionary scientific approach to golf as he is for his swanky 'Ivy Caps', plays with all of his irons the same length, which he believes is a mechanically superior approach.
"I've been working so hard my whole life to try to do this. To have it bring me victory at the John Deere is incredible," he told CBS television, his eyes wet with tears of emotions as he did so.
"I think that's the true meaning behind what I try and do," he said. "I show everybody there's plenty of ways to do it and I like doing it my way and I feel comfortable doing it my way. Whatever way you want to do it out there, you can do it."
He was especially thrilled that his victory had earned him an invitation to the season's third and oldest major, the Open Championship, which starts on Thursday.
"I can't believe it," he said, his eyes widening.
Chambeau was relatively invisible for most of the final round, but he timed his attacking charge perfectly and at the par-5 17th hole an excellent two-putt birdie suddenly brought him into focus, just one stroke off the pace.
His approach shot at the par-four 18th rolled a much longer way past the hole than any challenger would have wanted, but after initially looking as if his birdie attempt would miss right, it caught the lip of the hole and dropped in - to the absolute delight of the wildly fist-pumping DeChambeau.
That birdie gave DeChambeau a share of the lead with Rodgers, who minutes later bogeyed the 17th after his approach shot found the green but was in an awkward place and forced him to chip over a bunker blocking his line to the hole.
Rodgers could only par the last and had to settle for second place, having shot a 70.
(Par 71 - US unless stated)
266 Bryson DeChambeau 66-65-70-65
267 Patrick Rodgers 65-64-68-70
268 Wesley Bryan 66-71-67-64, Rick Lamb 69-70-63-66
269 Steve Stricker 73-67-65-64, Zach Johnson 65-67-70-67, Jonathan Byrd 70-65-67-67, Scott Stallings 71-64-64-70, Daniel Berger 69-67-63-70
270 Brian Harman 70-70-63-67, J.J. Henry 69-64-68-69
271 Morgan Hoffmann 72-67-68-64, Bud Cauley 72-67-66-66, Daniel Summerhays 66-72-66-67, Cameron Percy (AUS) 69-69-66-67, Chad Campbell 65-68-70-68, Kevin Tway 70-63-69-69, Brian Campbell 69-67-66-69272 Chris Stroud 67-70-69-66, Camilo Villegas (COL) 67-69-68-68, Charles Howell 63-69-70-70, Trey Mullinax 66-70-66-70, Rory Sabbatini (RSA) 65-70-67-70, Vaughn Taylor 69-68-65-70.
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