DeChambeau’s aggressive strategy has him in contention early at U.S. Open

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Bryson DeChambeau, of the United States, plays his shot from the second tee during the first round of the US Open Golf Championship, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Mamaroneck, N.Y. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

MAMARONECK, New York – Central Valley native Bryson DeChambeau has always done things his own way on the golf course.

There are the single-length irons and the single-plane golf swing. And this year, he also transformed his body into a muscle machine, trying to do everything he could to maximize distance off the tee, and as a result, led the PGA Tour in driving distance during the 2020 season, averaging just over 320 yards per drive.

But everyone wondered how Bryson’s new aggressive game would hold up at this week’s U.S. Open, being contested at difficult Winged Foot, with its tight fairways and penal rough, expected to be six inches deep in some spots.

In the lead-up, Bryson said he wouldn’t be changing anything in his approach, and hoped to use driver on every hole he could.

In round one on Thursday, the strategy worked pretty well. On his opening hole, the 455-yard par four 1st, Bryson hit a 385-yard rocket off the tee into the fairway, that set up a birdie. He actually had it to 3 under, and to within a couple shots of Justin Thomas’ early lead (-5), after making a long putt for birdie on the 10th hole. Two late bogeys (on 13 and 17) slowed down the momemtum, but he still posted a 1 under 69 on Thursday, and is tied for 14th place.

“I feel good right now with my driver, as long as I miss the driver in the right spots,” said DeChambeau, via golfchannel.com.

Looking at the stats, Bryson hit exactly half of the fairways (7-of-14) in Thursday’s opening round, which was above the field average of 43 percent. Surprisingly, his average driving distance of 311.1 yards was just below the field average of 312.37 yards. He gained 1.21 strokes on the field with his putter.

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