Bryson DeChambeau continues to advance at World Long Drive Championship in dramatic fashion
Bryson DeChambeau had already exceeded expectations by advancing into the Round of 16 at this week’s World Long Drive Championship in Mesquite, Nevada, and on Friday, he had a chance to achieve his ultimate goal: to be crowned champion.
The final 16 players were whittled down from an initial field of 80. In order to make the Elite Eight, DeChambeau needed to rank in the top eight of the remaining 16 players in terms of total points accumulated over five hitting sessions.
In the Round of 16, each player hits a maximum of 30 balls over five sessions. In each session, the player has two minutes and 30 seconds to hit six balls. The longest drive wins the session and earns 200 points. Second place is worth 100 points, third place is worth 50 points and fourth place is worth 25 points. Players who hit every ball out of bounds receive 0 points. The eight players with the highest cumulative points total advance to the Elite Eight.
With more than 40,000 viewers tuning in live to the stream on YouTube and a packed grandstand onsite, DeChambeau rose to the occasion.
Conditions were slightly downwind, and at first, DeChambeau looked as though he might not claim any points in his first session, which included his mentor Kyle Berkshire, Martin Borgmeier and Nick Vorbeck. DeChambeau’s first drive went 389 yards while two of his competitors posted drives over 400 yards. But then, DeChambeau blasted his fourth drive 416 yards (!) to tie Borgmeier for the session win.
“He belongs! What a stud!” The commentator enthused.
DeChambeau was second his next session with a drive of 387 yards — two yards shy of Wes Patterson at 389 yards.
In Session 3, DeChambeau pumped out two 400+-yard drives, but his 403-yard best was only good enough for second to Colton Casto’s 404-yard pop.
DeChambeau had a quick turnaround into Session 4 — the second-to-last of his Round of 16 — and the pressure was on to keep performing. DeChambeau was amped up and engaged throughout, gesturing to the crowd for noise and shouting after his best drives. Hi best drive of 396 yards was only good enough for third though, behind drives of 397 and 408 yards.
With only one session remaining, a win became critical for DeChambeau, whose point total had him on the bubble in ninth place. As the competitor directly ahead of him, Canadian Ryan Gregnol, fell to the ground with an injury, DeChambeau maintained his focus to blast a 394-yard drive — and incredibly, he won the session!
With a total of 500 points, DeChambeau ended up eighth out of 16, meaning he just qualified for the Elite Eight, and took one step closer to claiming the World Long Drive crown.
In the Round of 8, which commenced right away after a quick re-seed, players were divided into two groups of four. Each player got six shots, and the two longest drives in each heat qualifed for the final four.
Though DeChambeau put in a valiant effort, his best drive of 391 yards was short of second place by six yards. Martin Borgmeier (397 yards) and Justin James (403 yards) ended up advancing.
What a ride it’s been!