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Bryson DeChambeau captures Shriners Open with late eagle

Updated November 4, 2018 - 7:06 pm

The roar thundered from TPC Summerlin’s No. 16 green and delivered yet another message authored by Bryson DeChambeau to the golf world.

He’s already known as gregarious and quirky and fun-loving, a 25-year-old fan favorite with a flair for the dramatic. So when DeChambeau fell one stroke from the lead as he dueled Patrick Cantlay down the stretch Sunday at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, he realized his moment of truth had arrived.

“I wanted to do something special,” he said. “It was go time. I knew I had to put the afterburners on.”

DeChambeau reached the par-5 16th in two shots and was 58 feet from the hole off the back fringe. His putt rolled downhill and dropped for an eagle that propelled him to a one-shot victory over defending champion Cantlay.

DeChambeau shot a 5-under-par 66 to finish at 21 under and hold off a charging Cantlay, who rallied with a 6-under 65 and appeared on the verge of repeating as champion. But he bogeyed the par-3 17th after chunking his second shot from a bunker. DeChambeau’s eagle made for a three-shot swing and gave him a two-shot cushion with two holes left.

Sam Ryder fired Sunday’s low round, a 9-under 62 that vaulted him into third place at 19 under. Rickie Fowler finished with a 63 and tied for fourth with Abraham Ancer (66) and Robert Streb (68) at 17 under.

But it was DeChambeau’s show in the end. The Shriners Open marks his third victory in his last five starts since August. Asked if he’s the hottest player in the game right now, DeChambeau declined to say so.

“Oh jeez, I’ll say I’m playing some great golf right now. I will not talk about am I the hottest or who’s the hottest,” he said. “I think I’m certainly playing the best I’ve ever played in my life and hopefully it continues upward.”

DeChambeau’s trajectory wasn’t always upward. In 2017, he missed 16 of 31 cuts, including eight in a row. Now, he’s viewed as a closer with five victories heading into his third full year on the PGA Tour. He was a co-leader with Peter Uihlein heading into the final round and is now 3-for-3 in winning after holding a 54-hole lead.

“I thought I had it in me but I didn’t know I could do it,” DeChambeau said. “There are obviously a lot of things that have to go right for you to win. I learned the hard way my first year and a half on tour, and I realized I had to change my game if I wanted to compete out here.”

Cantlay pulled into the lead with birdies at Nos. 15 and 16, but he simply misjudged how to hit his bunker shot at No. 17. The ball barely cleared the lip of the bunker and left him little chance of making a clutch par.

“It was a tricky shot,” said Cantlay. “When I dug my left foot in, it didn’t have a bunch of sand. Then when I hit my shot there was more sand under the ball, and I didn’t anticipate that.

“It was a tricky one and just a poor shot at the wrong time.”

Cantlay finished with a birdie at No. 18. But DeChambeau cruised in with two tap-in pars to claim victory in his first start this season.

“I had a couple errant shots, a little bit of nerves, trying to shake the rust off,” he said. “It’s nice to get a win right off the bat after taking a few weeks off. Honestly, just no better way to start.”

Contact Tom Spousta at tspousta@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2505. Follow @TheRealTSpou on Twitter.

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