June 18, 2021

By Andrew Both

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Reuters) – Bryson DeChambeau spent more than an hour alone on the range on Thursday, pounding balls in the dark long after every other player at the U.S. Open had departed Torrey Pines.

He was trying to figure out a problem with his swing, but in the end gave up and called it a night.

During the night, however, his subconscious took over and the penny dropped.

“I’ve hit golf balls in the dark plenty of times, but at a certain point I was getting so frustrated with myself,” the defending champion said on Friday.

“Sure enough, I went to bed and I found a little something that worked for my driver.

“It’s one of those things that I was sleeping and it came to me in the middle of the night… so I went out and tried it and it worked, just keeping the right wrist bent for a lot longer.”

The tweak worked well enough on Friday for DeChambeau to shoot a two-under-par 69 that left him five shots behind clubhouse leader Richard Bland.

Two early bogeys had the big American heading in the wrong direction, but he steadied the ship, helped in no small measure by a 25-foot eagle putt at his ninth hole, the par-five 18th.

“Still I feel like I got my C, C-plus game with my irons, and my driving is like B, putting is A,” said DeChambeau, invoking memories of the way Tiger Woods used to grade his game like a school exam.

“I feel like if I can clean up my iron play and get a little more comfortable with the irons and the drivers, I’ll have a good chance for this weekend.

“I feel like I’ve never won with my A game in all areas. I’ve won with certain parts of my game being in the A game area, but for the most part my whole game hasn’t been that way, and I want to see the day that I can have everything flowing on all cylinders.”

(Reporting by Andrew Both; Editing by Ken Ferris)