OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. — Southern Methodist University senior Bryson DeChambeau became the fifth player to win the NCAA championship and the U.S. Amateur Championship in the same year Sunday when he claimed the Havemeyer Trophy with a 7-and-6 decision over the University of Virginia’s Derek Bard at Olympia Fields Country Club.
“Having my name etched on this trophy with the great Bob Jones as well as Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, all those guys, it's incredible,” said the 21-year-old from Clovis, Calif., who wears a Ben Hogan-style cap. “I can't even imagine what I just did. It won't sink in, I'm sure, for the next couple days. But I'm honored.”The 2015 United States Walker Cup Team member, who took individual honors at the Concession Club in Bradenton, Fla., in May for the NCAA title, joins Jack Nicklaus (1961), Phil Mickelson (1990), Tiger Woods (1996) and Ryan Moore (2004) in winning both championships in the same year.
“I'm in golf history,” said the SMU first-team All-American, who is No. 7 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™. “That's pretty incredible. I don't understand it yet. I had a little bit of an understanding of what I just did, but I haven't felt the impact of it yet. That's an honor to be in that field.”
DeChambeau, who was 2 down through seven holes, swung the match on the next hole when he chipped in for a winning birdie from deep greenside rough to reduce his deficit to one hole.
“I think the turning point of the whole day really is he when airmails the green on (No.) 8 and flops it in,” said Bard, 20, of New Hartford, N.Y. “You have to pull off shots like that if you want to win a championship like this. It's one of those signature shots. It was pretty cool to watch. He hit a perfect shot up there and tumbled in. Like I say, he deserves it and from that point on, he really took control.”
DeChambeau, who shot 61 in the third round in helping the USA win the 2014 World Amateur Team Championship in Japan, followed that chip-in with a win on the 10th hole to square the match. He then took Nos. 14, 15 and 16 (14 and 15 with birdies) for a 3-up lead. He double-bogeyed the 18th and held a 2-up lead through the lunch break of the 36-hole championship match at Olympia Fields’ North Course, host to two U.S. Open Championships.
Bard, who won this year’s Sunnehanna Amateur, had responded to DeChambeau’s 2-up lead after two holes, regrouping to win four of the next five holes. His stretch of good play was interrupted by a one-hour delay due to inclement weather, which dropped nearly a half inch of rain on the course.
“I felt that in the morning match, no matter where the match got to, I always felt like I was still in it, because we had 18 more holes to go in the afternoon,” said Bard, who won the 2014 U.S. Collegiate at Georgia Tech. “It's such a long day and to get it back to 2-down after the morning was big. It gave me some momentum. I came out in the afternoon and won the first hole and then just kind of fell apart.”
DeChambeau bogeyed the par-5 19th hole to reduce his lead to one hole, then won four of the next five holes (three with birdies) for a 5-up lead. He built it to 8-up by winning the 26th, 27th and 28 holes. Bard won No. 29 when a wayward DeChambeau drive led to a bogey. Both players parred the 30th hole for a halve that sealed DeChambeau’s victory.
“From then on out, I just said, put the pedal to the metal, hit shots close and let's play Bryson golf,” said DeChambeau, who beat college All-Americans Maverick McNealy of Stanford and Matt NeSmith of South Carolina en route to the final.
Bard, who beat Vanderbilt All-American and United States Walker Cup Team member Hunter Stewart and world No. 1 Jon Rahm, of Spain and Arizona State, on his path to the final, said: “I made a little bit of a bad swing on (No.) 3, and all of the sudden I was 3-down and he just started making putts on me. It's tough to come back from that. The last few days, I was the one making putts and today I wasn't. I didn't make anything and he made all the putts he had to.”
The 2015 U.S. Amateur Championship consisted of 36 holes of stroke play (18 holes on each of Olympia Fields’ North and South Courses), followed by six rounds of match play (all on the North Course).
The finalists receive exemptions into the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club, three years of exemptions into the U.S. Amateur and a likely invitation to the 2016 Masters Tournament. The champion also receives an exemption into the 2016 Open Championship at Royal Troon.
All quarterfinalists are exempt from qualifying for the 2016 U.S. Amateur at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Aug. 15-21.