U.S. Open: DeChambeau's swing fix 'came to him' in a dream as McIlroy endures 'rollercoaster'

By Sports Desk June 19, 2021

Bryson DeChambeau said his swing fix "came to him" in a dream after the U.S. Open champion kept his title defence alive.

DeChambeau opened his bid for back-to-back U.S. Open trophies with a 73 but the big-hitting American responded by posting a two-under-par 69 on Friday.

An eagle, four birdies and four bogeys saw DeChambeau surge 47 positions on day two, moving within five shots of co-leaders Richard Bland and Russell Henley at Torrey Pines.

Reflecting on his bounce-back display heading into the weekend, DeChambeau credited a late-night tweak.

"I was sleeping and it came to me in the middle of the night," DeChambeau told reporters.

"Woke up and I was like, hmm, I'm going to try this, and my intuition is pretty good, so I went out and tried it and it worked, just keeping the right wrist bent for a lot longer through impact."

"It's more just my intuition telling me there's something weird here, what's going on, and I couldn't figure it out for an hour and a half last night, an hour last night," said DeChambeau said. "Going back and just sitting down, eating dinner and just thinking about it, thinking about it, I literally won't talk to anybody for like an hour, just thinking, thinking, thinking, and sure enough, I went to bed and I found a little something that worked for my driver."

DeChambeau added: "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."

He is tied for 13th alongside the likes of rival Brooks Koepka (73), Justin Thomas (69) and Collin Morikawa (67).

Amid their ongoing feud, DeChambeau and two-time U.S. Open champion Koepka narrowly avoided being paired together for Saturday's penultimate round.

Koepka – eyeing a fifth major crown – lost ground on the leaders after mixing five bogeys and just three birdies but he told reporters: "I feel right there. I feel like I'm in it. Just need to put two solid good rounds and put the ball in the fairway, and that's it. I love the way I'm putting. I love the way I'm striking it. Just need to keep doing it."

Four-time major winner and former world number one Rory McIlroy is a stroke further back following his second-round 73.

"A bit of a rollercoaster, got off to a good start," McIlroy said. "Made a couple of birdies early on and was under par for the round. Then I made a couple of mental errors and missed it in the wrong spots, and when you do that around this golf course, it's just really hard to see a par.

"I made a few bogeys, but birdieing two of the last four holes definitely makes me feel better about the round and gives me a nice bit of momentum going into tomorrow…So, yeah, in for the weekend and still feel like I've got a really good chance."

US PGA Championship winner Phil Mickelson also feels he can "make a run at it" after avoiding the cut on Friday.

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    World number one Scottie Scheffler was part of an eight-man group atop the leaderboard after the first round of the Charles Schwab Challenge, played at Colonial Country Club in Texas.

    Scheffler, who shot a bogey-free 66 despite only hitting 50 per cent of the fairways in regulation, was joined by fellow Americans Harold Varner III, Chris Kirk, Beau Hossler, Patrick Reed and Webb Simpson, as well as Canadian Nick Taylor and Australian Cam Davis.

    Hossler produced the most notable round, with two eagles – both coming on par-fours – in his last four holes to fly up the leaderboard.

    One shot off the lead were a group including Davis Riley and Kevin Na, while pre-tournament favourite Jordan Spieth was back at one under, tied with Victor Hovland and Max Homa.

    Spieth, who is from Texas, has an impeccable record at Colonial, with seven top-10 finishes – including three runners-up and a win – from nine starts on the PGA Tour.

    Speaking to the media after finishing his round, Spieth said he is battling his putter at the moment but that he is confident things will turn in his favour.

    "I think I'm typically more comfortable with reads here, although today here was totally different, I misread a number of putts today," he said.

    "But I stroked it beautifully, I just felt great about the way I putted, I just didn't get much to go.

    "Those are the kind of rounds where you can either look at it negatively, or you can say at it like 'hey, that lid is going to come off one of these times, and all of a sudden they're all going to pour in'.

    "It's done that for me [previously] at Colonial, so I think that's the attitude I'm going to take."

    At even par were a strong international group including Chile's US PGA Championship main character Mito Pereira, Colombia's Sebastian Munoz, England's Ian Poulter, American Collin Morikawa and the South Korean duo of Lee Kyoung-hoon and Im Sung-jae.

    PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas was at one over, while his playoff opponent last week Will Zalatoris was a shot further back at two over.

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    "Excited to announce the next phase of my career as I'll be stepping back from playing on the @lpga_tour full time," Wie said on Instagram on Thursday. "I'm so grateful for the past 14 years I spent on tour, travelling the world and competing against the best in the game.

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    Wie West won four other LPGA events during her career, most recently the HSBC Women's World Championship in 2018.

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    Rory McIlroy reflected on the US PGA Championship as "one that got away" after he failed to capitalise on a great start at Southern Hills.

    McIlroy led the second major of the year after carding a five-under 65 in his first round last Thursday.

    That proved to be a false dawn, as the Northern Irishman followed that up with a 71 in his second round and went in the wrong direction on moving day when he shot a 74.

    McIlroy finished with a 68 to take eighth place in Tulsa, where Justin Thomas beat Will Zalatoris in a play-off to take the title.

    It is eight years since McIlroy won the last of his four majors and he knows he missed a golden opportunity in Oklahoma.

    "Regrets? Yeah I regret I didn't take advantage of the benign conditions on Friday afternoon," McIlroy said in a conference call to promote the new GolfNow Compete App.

    "I regret the big numbers I made on the par threes on Saturday. The fact that I just needed to play the last 13 holes in one-under par to make a play-off on Sunday, and I didn't.

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    The world number eight, runner-up in The Masters last month, is pleased with the progress he has made over the last year.

    "The first two majors of last year, I missed the cut at Augusta and I finished like 50th at the PGA," he said.

    "I just have to stay as patient as possible. I know that if I keep playing the golf that I'm playing the chances are going to present themselves and I'm going to give myself a few more chances this year, not just to win majors but to win golf tournaments in general."

    McIlroy has not spoken to Dr Bob Rotella about his performance at the US PGA, but says his mental coach has been in touch.

    "He sent me a nice text on Sunday night," he said.

    "There's a lot to be positive about where my golf game is now compared to where it was last year, it's miles ahead of that. I feel like the consistency is back in my golf game that really hasn't been there.

    "I feel like this year is very similar to 2019, when I had one of my best years ever and won four times, and I was PGA Tour Player of the Year."

    McIlroy will play in the Memorial, the RBC Canadian Open, the Travelers and the U.S. Open. He will then miss the Irish Open and play in the JP McManus Pro-Am prior to The Open at St Andrews, which starts on July 10.

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