U.S. Open 2019: Bryson DeChambeau trying to overcome ‘neurological damage’ at Pebble Beach

June 14, 2019
Bryson DeChambeau lines up a putt during the first round of the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Bryson DeChambeau wasn’t happy with how he played Pebble Beach’s par-5s during the first round of the U.S. Open, but he was pleased to grind out a two-under 69 and put himself just four off the lead after Day 1.

A soft Pebble Beach Golf Links allowed dozens of players to get under par, DeChambeau among them. But while Pebble has (so far) played easier than past U.S. Opens, DeChambeau has more hurdles to overcome than just the course. Here’s one of them: neurological damage.

“Anytime you can shoot two under in an Open you’re in a good place, and I’ve got to do a lot more work,” he said on Thursday. “I was coming back off of a lot of neurological damage that I’ve had from just hitting bad shots and not doing the right things with my swing and just going down rabbit holes that weren’t really pretty. It’s going to create some neurological damage there for me. And I’m trying to get over that as of right now. I’m doing a pretty good job so far. Today is the best I’ve felt in a long time.”

The neurological damage DeChambeau is referring to is most likely from the past two months of results. After tying for 29th at the Masters he missed the cut in his next three starts — without breaking 70 — but played better two weeks ago, tying for 22nd at the Memorial.

On Thursday, DeChambeau started on the back nine and bogeyed the par-4 10th, but he made birdies on 12, 13 and 16 to turn in two under. He played the front side in even par, making a birdie on 1 and a bogey on 6. He played Pebble’s three par-5s in one over with no birdies. On one of them, the par-5 18th, DeChambeau had just 128 to the flag but hit it well over the green.

“I bladed it. I butter knifed it, as they would say,” he said. “That’s just the way it works. It was a little bit of an uphill lie. I was trying to pick it too clean and I just absolutely four-headed it. I luckily didn’t kill anyone. That was my major concern. I didn’t care about the ball. But I was fortunate to get it up and down.”

DeChambeau’s second round begins at 4:47 p.m. ET on the 1st tee. He’s playing alongside Justin Thomas (two over) and Kevin Kisner (two over). You can follow the entire second round of the U.S. Open here.

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