Bryson DeChambeau has outlined the factors he thinks will be crucial in the final round of the US Open after moving firmly into contention with a three-under 68 in the third round.
The defending champion, adopting a similar strategy to the one he employed at Winged Foot last year by using his driver at nearly every opportunity, birdied the first, sixth and 13th on his way to his first bogey-free round in a major.
That lifted him to three under and a share of fourth place with Rory McIlroy, two behind co-leaders Mackenzie Hughes, Louis Oosthuizen and Russell Henley.
The 27-year-old says he has now learned that patience will be required in the final round on Sunday and he is also ready to adapt quickly to whatever the conditions are at Torrey Pines.
“You’ve got to be really patient out here at these majors,” said DeChambeau.
“It’s something that is not easy to do. My first few goes at majors, I was not successful or anywhere near successful, and I feel like I’m starting to understand major championship golf and how to play it and how to go about managing my game, my attitude and just my patience level. If I can continue to do that, I think I’ll have a good chance.
“If they make it hard and tuck pins, it’s going to be a very difficult championship. It’s going to be hold on to your horses. If they make some of the pins accessible and move the tees up like they did, you’re going to have to go at it.
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“You just have to recognise the golf course in the moment, in the conditions at hand because if there’s no wind or if there’s a lot of wind, that’s going to change a lot of factors, too. It’s about adapting on the spot.
“I think that’s what’s so great about the game of golf is I can take as many numbers as I want into play before a round but until you get out there on the golf course and you see and sense and feel things, you’re going to have to adjust off of those numbers.
“That’s what the beauty is of this game, and no matter how much I try and take every variable out, you’re still going to have to adapt every day.”
DeChambeau pulled clear in the final round at Winged Foot last year to win by six shots and after making full use of his driver on Saturday he is looking to do the same on Sunday due to the state of the course.
“It’s kind of the way the course was set up, but for me when I miss it because I hit it pretty far, I’m going to miss it off line quite a bit,” he said when asked about his game plan.
“So that plays kind of into my advantage a little bit more because where the people are walking, it’s trampled down and you get some good lies out of that. Four is a great example out here today. I was able to hit it close. I didn’t make the putt, but again I hit it over to the right, it’s trampled down, had a nice lie, and I was able to get it up on the top ridge.
“Again, that was all part of the strategy. I knew that there was going to be people walking and trampling, and if it was a bad lie, I can still run it to the front of the green and hit it out from there.
“That’s still the game plan, and hopefully I get lucky tomorrow again.
“I’m hitting driver off of pretty much every hole, depending on where the flag is. Like 14 is the only hole that I laid up on, and it was with a four-iron yesterday, it was because the pin was back right so I wanted to give myself a chance for birdie. I knew if I would miss the fairway on that hole there’s no chance I go for that pin, so depends on where they put it tomorrow.
“I’m sure it’ll be back right, but it’ll be a game-time decision again, and I think the Winged Foot play is kind of what’s going on this week so far.”
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