CLEVELAND, Ohio – 22-year-old Bryson DeChambeau emerged victorious Sunday in a four-way playoff with a par on the second extra hole at the DAP Championship to lock up his PGA TOUR card for the 2016-17 season. After DeChambeau, Andres Gonzales, Julian Etulain and Nicholas Lindheim each signed for a 7-under 273, DeChambeau and Gonzales knocked out Etulain and Lindheim with a pair of birdies on the first playoff hole at Canterbury Golf Club, and DeChambeau holed a four-foot par putt on the next trip down the 18th to secure his first win as a professional.
With this win, DeChambeau earns his PGA TOUR card and becomes the 15th player in Web.com Tour history to win in his first start. He’s also now the youngest winner on the Web.com Tour this season at 22 years, 11 months, 26 days.
“Oh my gosh, it’s amazing. It’s beyond my wildest dreams. I’m just so ecstatic about today,” DeChambeau said. “All these guys out here could play on the PGA TOUR no problem. It’s just about getting it done, staying patient, executing shots, and that’s luckily what I was able to do this week.”
The 2015 NCAA Individual Champion and U.S. Amateur Champion stuck his approach shot on the first playoff hole—the 439-yard par-4 18th—to four feet. Lindheim and Etulain both failed to advance after Lindheim missed the green left and Etulain missed a birdie putt that was well over 50 feet. However, Gonzales sunk a 29-footer for birdie to put the pressure firmly on DeChambeau, who was facing a slick, sliding four footer. DeChambeau buried it to send the playoff back to the 18th tee.
“So what’s funny is right when I got behind it, I looked at it, and I knew the read, I knew how much it was going to break,” DeChambeau said. “It was an inch outside the hole, and I sat it down and I was really calm. It was really weird, a calmness came over me, and it was just about executing. The same thing happened to me on 16 when I made that 12-footer. A calmness came over me, I said just execute, and I was able to execute. It went right in the middle of the hole and I said let’s go.”
On the second playoff hole, DeChambeau hit his approach shot to about 20 feet while Gonzales short sided himself with a tough pitch from the left rough to a tucked front left pin. Gonzales hit his pitch to outside 10 feet and failed to convert the up-and-down. DeChambeau sunk his par putt to secure the victory.
“It’s very unorthodox, but I think the name of the game out here is if you believe in what you’re doing, you’ve gotta keep believing in that,” Gonzales said of DeChambeau. “You have to think that what you’re doing is the right way to do it, and it’s amazing how far that can take you, self-belief out here. If you don’t have self-belief in this game, you might as well hang ‘em up.”
Fresh off a missed cut at last week’s Omega European Masters—where he shot nine-over-par—DeChambeau posted a bogey-free opening-round 64 on Thursday to put himself one back of leader Bobby Wyatt. After discovering that the face of his driver was cracked on Tuesday of this week, DeChambeau replaced his driver head and got more comfortable with his tee game, as evidenced by the 14 of 14 fairways he hit Sunday.
“I wasn’t going to use my driver after Tuesday and tried a new driver head and it started to perform well,” DeChambeau said. “For me, it was nice knowing that my ball-striking was incredible and had been all week, and all I had to do was make a couple putts and I was going to be right there.”
On a day where seven different players bounced in and out of the lead, DeChambeau’s 1-over 71 Sunday was enough to earn a spot in the four-man playoff, despite his 31 putts on Sunday. He missed a par attempt from inside five feet on the par-4 second and three-putted the par-3 17th but didn’t let his missed opportunities affect him.
“Well, I knew they would drop. Unfortunately, I three putted on 17, first three putt of the week, but I was still able to stay strong and push through,” DeChambeau said. “This is only going to help me in future times, where we’re right there, really close to the leader, and it’s going to allow me to push through and push through to make a couple more birdies if that situation ever arises.”
Runner-up Andres Gonzales had an incredible final stretch on Sunday to put himself in contention. The Washington native and two-time Web.com Tour winner was 2-under in his final five holes en route to a back-nine 33—his lowest nine of the week. However, a missed 6-footer for par on the par-5 16th—the easiest hole of the week with an average score of 4.885—cost him the outright lead and was the shot he pointed to as the one that cost him the tournament.
“Sixteen was probably where I lost the tournament,” Gonzales said. “I had a pretty good second shot down there. I had 55 yards and left it short in the rough. And the rough out here is very penal and I just didn’t get it up-and-down.”
After missing seven straight cuts on TOUR earlier this season, Gonzales bounced back with several fine finishes but failed to earn enough points to crack the top-125 in the FedExCup standings. Still, the UNLV grad—who played in the FedExCup Playoffs last year—has officially secured his PGA TOUR card for the 2016-17 season.
“I just can’t tell you. I’m excited to get back to…to get mission number one accomplished,” Gonzales said.
Even with his wife due in just under three weeks with the couple’s second child, Gonzales plans on playing next week’s Albertson’s Boise Open presented by Kraft Nabisco.
“Extra incentive to get on the big TOUR so you can have a little more income,” he said.
Lindheim entered the day five shots back of the lead but put together the second best round of the day to play his way into the playoff, shooting a bogey-free, 4-under 66. The California native began his Web.com Tour career in 2012 and has recorded 14 top-10s in 51 starts since. He earned his first victory at the Utah Championship in July of this year and has already secured his PGA TOUR card for the 2016-2017 season thanks to a 21st place finish on the Web.com Tour Regular Season money list.
Julian Etulain, the 2014 PGA TOUR Latinoamerica Order of Merit winner, made only one cut in last year’s Web.com Tour Finals series, but entered this year’s Finals having already earned his TOUR card for next season, thanks to a 20th place finish on the Regular Season money list. Like Lindheim, the 28-year-old Argentinian recorded one bogey in his final 36-holes and carded the only bogey-free round in the field during Saturday’s third round.
* Sunday weather: Partly cloudy in the morning with a daytime high of 72 degrees. Wind NW – 8-16 mph.
* DeChambeau’s win comes at age 22 years, 11 months, 26 days.
* DeChambeau’s victory is his first professional win. Last summer DeChambeau joined Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Ryan Moore as the only five players in golf history to win the U.S. Amateur and NCAA Championship in the same year.
* DeChambeau is only the eighth winner on the Web.com Tour this year to close out the 54-hole lead with a victory.
* Scott Stallings fired the round of the day Sunday – a 5-under 65 – to jump 28 spots up the leaderboard. Stallings entered the day at even-par for the tournament in T34 but jumped up to a T6 finish with a seven-birdie, two-bogey day.
* Among The 25 that entered the week with their TOUR card locked up, three players finished in the top-10 this week – Lindheim (T2), Etulain (T2), and Lamb (T10).
* D.A. Points was tied for fifth heading to the last hole – a spot that would have likely guaranteed him a PGA TOUR card for next season. But Points, who was just one shot back of the lead, three-putted for bogey and dropped into T6 with three others players. That putt cost him more than $5,000 and means he’ll likely have to at least make the cut in one of the final three Web.com Tour Finals events to ensure a return to the TOUR. In his first Web.com Tour Finals appearance a year ago, the two-time TOUR winner finished 93rd on the Finals money list after making cuts in two of four starts with a T35 as his best finish among the four starts.
* Andres Gonzales missed seven straight cuts on TOUR this season before posting a T4 finish at the Barbasol Championship. The UNLV grad and two-time Web.com Tour graduate (2012 and 2014) went on to make the cut in three of his last four starts on the TOUR and felt like he was playing his best golf coming into this week. It showed with a T2 finish, one that locks him up a return to the TOUR for the 2016-17 season. Gonzales’ wife is expecting in three weeksand this week makes it easier on him to leave an event if he gets the call.
* Julian Etulain and Nicholas Lindheim both had already locked up their TOUR card as one of the top-25 on the Web.com Tour regular season money list, but both moved into the top-10 on the money list with a T2 this week. Etulain is at seventh while Lindheim moved up to eighth after both entered the week outside of the top-20.
* Zack Sucher has locked up a return to the TOUR for the 2016-17 season after a solo fifth-place finish. Sucher finished third on the 2014 Web.com Tour Regular Season money list to earn a promotion to the TOUR but struggled a year ago on TOUR with only one top-25 in 18 starts. After a 38th place finish on the Web.com Tour Regular Season money list, Sucher is heading back to the TOUR with his second top-5 of the season.
* Canterbury Golf Club’s par-4 sixth hole and par-3 17th tied as the toughest hole for the week, with an average score of 4.274 and 3.274, respectively. The par-5 ninth was the easiest hole on the course for the week with an average score of 4.533.
Scoring Averages at Canterbury Golf Club:
Bogey Free Rounds: