MEXICO CITY — Bryson DeChambeau’s off-season decision to bulk up in order to gain distance has been well-documented. After adding more than 20 pounds and going up a shirt size from medium to large, though, his newfound girth took some getting used to when it came to his swing.
In short, DeChambeau’s accuracy suffered and so did his results. He finished near the bottom of the leader board at the Hero World Challenge in December, missed the cut in Abu Dhabi and finished T-52 in Phoenix. His lone top 10 during that stretch was a T-8 in Dubai.
But DeChambeau seems to be settling in. Last week, he tied for fifth at the Genesis Invitational, and through two rounds of this week’s WGC-Mexico Championship he leads by one after an eight-under 63 on Friday.
What did he do to turn that part of his game around?
“It’s a secret,” DeChambeau quipped.
Of course with Club de Golf Chapultepec sitting at an elevation of 7,300 feet, length is less important than accuracy. And in that department, he is doing just fine. On Friday, DeChambeau hit nine of 14 fairways, 15 greens and was fifth in in the field in strokes gained/off the tee.
But the biggest difference was the shortest club in his bag, with DeChambeau pouring in 143 feet, four inches of putts, which included six birdies in a seven-hole stretch en route to a back-nine 29. Through two rounds, he as made a combined 265 feet, 10 inches of putts and ranks first in the field in strokes gained/putting.
“I haven’t been putting bad,” DeChambeau said. “I haven’t necessarily been reading them correctly. I feel like this week I’m seeing the greens really, really well, seeing how they’re breaking, how it’s going to go in, what speed I need, and I don’t know, it’s just one of those things where this week they’re going in.”
It helped, too, that he made some adjustments after his first appearance in the event last year.
“I didn’t have the right equipment for me, and this year I do, and at least I’ve got a lot of the pieces of the puzzle for my bag that are working really, really well out here,” said DeChambeau, who finished T-56 in the event a year ago. “I changed balls to a spinnier ball last year, and this year we haven’t.”
As for the rest?
It remains a secret. But he did concede one fact.
Said DeChambeau: “It doesn’t really show it out here, but I’m hitting it straighter than I ever have in two, three years.”