By Sam McPherson
Bryson DeChambeau does not turn 25 years old until September 16, but over the last two weekends, he has played with more experience and wisdom than his age would suggest. After a four-shot win last week in The Northern Trust, he managed a similar feat at the Dell Technologies Championship, winning by two strokes over Justin Rose. He’s now staked himself to a commanding points lead in the FedExCup playoffs.
Coming into the 2017-18 PGA Tour season, DeChambeau had one career win on Tour — the 2017 John Deere Classic. He added the Memorial to his resume in June. Now, after taking the Dell Technologies at TPC Boston with a 16-under-par effort, DeChambeau has doubled his career-victory total and set himself up as the golfer to beat at the upcoming BMW Championship. He also holds a commanding lead in the FedExCup points standings.
It was quite the rollercoaster ride at the top of the leaderboard for all four rounds. Justin Rose took the first-round lead on Friday, firing a 65 to finish at 6-under par. That gave him a one-shot lead over Abraham Ancer and Russell Knox, and left three international golfers atop the leaderboard. However, there was a fourth-place tie among four American golfers, on the heels of the leaders at 4-under. This group included 2011 PGA Championship victor, Keegan Bradley.
A different American grabbed the lead on Saturday in the second road, however; Webb Simpson posted a 63 to take the top spot overall on the board at 11-under par. Rose made 67 to stay one stroke behind at 10-under, along with his countryman Tyrrell Hatton, who matched Simpson’s low round of the day. Rounding out the top four was another Englishman, Tommy Fleetwood, after he shot 65 to come in at 8-under par overall.
By the end of Sunday’s third round, there was a little more international diversity on the leaderboard as Spain’s Ancer vaulted to the lead at 13-under with a round of 65. He held a one-shot lead over Hatton and DeChambeau, whose 63, the round of the day, put him in contention. Smith and Rose were tied for fourth place, just two shots behind the leader.
At one point Monday afternoon, there was a five-way tie atop the leaderboard at 13-under par with DeChambeau, Ancer, Hatton, Rafael Cabrera Bello and Emiliano Grillo all vying for the tournament victory. DeChambeau, however, steeled himself, making five birdies on the front nine to pull away from the pack and claim the win with a final-round 67.
Rose posted a 68 to finish second at 14-under, while Cameron Smith shot 69 to finish third at 13-under. As for the other four golfers briefly tied at the top in the final round, Ancer, Bello, and Grillo each finished tied for seventh at 11-under, while Hatton dropped to a 12th-place tie at 10-under par.
DeChambeau, with a 2,328-point lead over second-place Dustin Johnson, could skip the BMW Championship and still be the points leader at the Tour Championship. He won’t sit out the next tournament, of course. The young American has a great chance to win the FedExCup, already serving notice that he’s yet another young gun on the rise on the PGA Tour.
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Next On The Tee: BMW Championship
The Tour is now down to its final 70 players in the FedExCup chase, as the best golfers on Tour head to Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, and the Aronimink Golf Club for the BMW Championship. This is the first time this event has been held on this course, which hosted the PGA Championship in 1962 and is scheduled to do so again in 2027. Marc Leishman won this event last year, posting a five-stroke victory over both Rickie Fowler and Rose at the Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Illinois.
Although the tournament itself used to be called the Western Open and dates back to 1899, the BMW Championship has been a part of the FedExCup since 2007. Therefore, most of the past champions of the BMW event are still playing well enough to be in the field this week, starting with Thursday’s first round. Dustin Johnson (2010, 2016) and Tiger Woods (2007, 2009) have each won the BMW twice, while Leishman, Jason Day (2015), Billy Horschel (2014), and Zach Johnson (2013) have qualified. Also in the field, of course, are Rory McIlroy (2012) and Rose (2011). Only 2008 winner Camilo Villegas won’t be playing this time.
The course for the BMW Championship this year was originally designed by Donald Ross in the 1920s and restored in 2003 to resemble its original design and intent. The course record was set in 2011 by Nick Watney, who posted a 62 during the AT&T National on his way to a victory in that event. The BMW Championship records are held by Leishman, who posted 261 and 23-under par last year in his victory. Dustin Johnson also finished at 23-under in his 2016 victory at the BMW Championship.
The Aronimink Golf Club course plays 7,327 yards long and is a par 70.
Favorites: Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Rose, Cameron Smith
Players to Watch: Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods
Sam McPherson is a freelance writer covering baseball, football, basketball, golf and fantasy sports for CBS Local. He also is an Ironman triathlete and certified triathlon coach. Follow him on Twitter @sxmcp, because he’s quite prolific despite also being a college English professor and a certified copy editor.