DeChambeau delivers again, wins LIV tournament at Rich Harvest
Golf drama doesn't get any better than this.
Bryson DeChambeau delivered it in Illinois for the third time on Sunday to win the LIV Chicago tournament at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove. In 2015 he won the U.S. Amateur at Olympia Fields, and in 2017 he captured the first of his seven PGA Tour titles at the John Deere Classic in downstate Silvis. His victory on Sunday was more dramatic than both of those.
DeChambeau trailed second-round leader Sebastian Munoz by 8 strokes going into the final round. Things changed quickly after he covered his face in a gleeful celebration as an 80-foot downhill, bending birdie putt dropped on the No. 12 hole.
That would get any player going, but DeChambeau took it to extremes. He birdied No. 14, made pars at Nos. 15 and 16, and then birdied the 17th and 18th. That was his winning stretch in his round of 8-under-par 63, created in the LIV's shotgun format. His winning total over the tourney's 54 holes was 13-under-par 200.
"The most consistently good golf of my life," said DeChambeau. "This stretch has been pretty sweet to me."
Amazingly, Rich Harvest wasn't his best tournament of the year. In the LIV's Greenbriar stop, DeChambeau shot 58-61 on the weekend to win. That defies the imagination, but Sunday's win did, too.
To get the win, DeChambeau had to overtake Aniban Lahiri, his teammate on the Crushers -- one of the 12 four-man teams competing in LIV tourneys. After DeChambeau finished, Lahiri needed a birdie on the 18th hole to win the tournament or a par to force a playoff with his Crushers' captain.
Lahiri got neither. His approach on the tough par-4 was short, stopping on the front fringe of the green. His first putt was weak, stopping 9 feet short of the cup. His par putt missed, too, and that made DeChambeau a somewhat reluctant champion.
"I still can't believe it," he said. "I wanted 'Ban to make that putt and settle things in a playoff, but it is what it is. He's an unbelievable player."
Lahiri has yet to win on the LIV circuit, but he had three runner-up finishes. Sunday was his fourth. He kept grinding, but "I was fighting my swing all day," he said.
There was a good consolation prize for both. The Crushers won their second team title of the season and clinched a bye in the circuit's championship. The team was comprised of DeChambeau, Lahiri, Paul Casey and Charles Howell III.
"As a team together, we're a pretty dominant force," said DeChambeau, who stressed that over his latest individual accomplishment.
"All four of us would rather win (as individuals), but the team got a win that we should pull off," said Lahiri. "I don't think we've ever been off the podium."
Another strong showing made DeChambeau's absence from this week's Ryder Cup matches in Italy more noticeable. U.S. captain Zach Johnson declared DeChambeau as a captain's pick after the 58-61 performance at Greenbriar, but apparently changed his mind. The only LIV player named to a Ryder Cup team was PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka. He was deserving, but his 26th-place finish Sunday doesn't suggest great things should be expected from him this week in Italy.
The Rich Harvest stop, which drew enthusiastic crowds again, didn't impact LIV's player-of-the-year race much. DeChambeau, with $4 million won for his individual title and his share of the $3 million prize for the Crushers' team victory, moved him into third place with $12,995,833. Leader Talor Gooch has won $15,070,012 for the season's 12 events and Cameron Smith, last year's Rich Harvest winner, has $13,755,417.
The last tournament to improve on the individual money list is in Saudi Arabia Oct. 13-15. The LIV season, up from eight to 14 events this year, concludes with its team championship Oct. 20-22 at Doral, in Miami.