The majority of the field at the U.S. Open struggled with the difficult Winged Foot course in Mamaroneck, New York.
But not Bryson DeChambeau. He tamed the beast.
The 27-year-old won the first major title of his career Sunday, running away from the field after shooting a three-under 67 in the final round. That brought him to six under for the tournament, six strokes clear of runner-up Matthew Wolff.
It also put him in legendary company:
DeChambeau was nearly flawless on Sunday, with two birdies, one eagle and just one bogey. He started well on the front nine, with birdie on No. 3 and an eagle on No. 9.
He showed he could close, too, with a birdie on No. 11 followed by seven straight pars.
Wolff came into the day with a two-stroke lead over DeChambeau but never found his footing, hitting bogeys on three of his first eight holes. An eagle on No. 9—it was a popular hole for DeChambeau and Wolff—erased some of the damage, but his struggles continued on the back nine with bogeys at Nos. 10 and 14 and a double-bogey on No. 16.
In his defense, Winged Foot kicked everyone's butt on Sunday (and really, through all four rounds). DeChambeau was the only player in the entire field to shoot below par in the final round, or for the tournament.
DeChambeau won't be the most widely embraced champion, given how his slow playing style divides opinion. But despite his snail-like pace, his style of launching the ball as far as possible off the tee—generally considered a reckless strategy at Winged Foot given its narrow fairways—was an interesting gambit.
"My approach is to hit the ball as close to the green as I can get it—and as straight," he said Friday, per Bill Pennington of the New York Times. "But if I miss the fairway and I'm in the rough, I'm comfortable with that result. If the ball goes as far as it usually does, I'm comfortable in the rough, because with a wedge or a short iron I can still get it to the green or to the front of the green. That lowers the intimidation factor of the rough."
The risk clearly paid off, in part because he added 40 pounds while weight training over the winter. It showed on Sunday. Winged Foot pushed the field. Only DeChambeau pushed back. And it's made him a man to watch at November's Masters.