Bryson DeChambeau entered the final round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic with an opportunity to defend his title from a year ago.
At 9-under par and playing in extremely difficult conditions, the five-time PGA Tour had a rollercoaster round that saw him erase his two-shot deficit by the third hole.
Making birdies on two of his first three, DeChambeau matched 54-hole leader Ashun Wu, but three bogeys over his next five holes dropped him from 11-under par to 8-under par.
Playing alongside Eddie Pepperell — a vocal critic of DeChambeau’s slow pace of play in the past — in the third-to-last pairing, the European Tour’s more stringent slow-play policy was in action at Emirates Golf Club. After steadying the ship somewhat, DeChambeau was approached by a European Tour rules official on the 10th hole.
Today in Dubai, Bryson DeChambeau was put on the clock and given a slow-play warning on the 10th hole.
He went on to shoot 76, T-8, which included bogeying his last four holes. pic.twitter.com/3RovwMAgbM
— Samantha Marks (@SamMarksGC) January 26, 2020
Given a warning and being told he was putting on the clock, Pepperell said to DeChambeau’s credit he sped up. Three holes later, DeChambeau made a third birdie of his round to once again reach 9-under par, however, he wouldn’t be able to sustain his position.
The course, which was known in the past for its relatively easy setup, was playing much more difficult in 2020. Long rough and narrow fairways were coupled with wind and rain on the final day, which ballooned the scoring average to 74.76 among the 71 players to make the cut.
The conditions couldn’t be completely to blame for the implosion that came down the stretch for DeChambeau. Following his birdie on the par-5 13th hole, which again tied him for the lead, DeChambeau made par on the 14th hole.
Bryson DeChambeau and his caddie’s club selection conversation is _________ pic.twitter.com/Qy2VygOOoo
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) January 26, 2020
From there, the wheels came off. DeChambeau three-putted the 15th green, failed to get up-and-down for par on the 16th, missed the 17th green (twice) and hit his approach to the par-5 18th green into the water.
Four bogeys later and DeChambeau dropped out of a tie for the lead and from a score that would have been good enough to get into a playoff into a tie for 8th place, four shots back of the leaders. A visibly frustrated DeChambeau declined to talk with the media following the completion of the round.
Australia’s Lucas Herbert would eventually prevail on the second playoff hole over Christiaan Bezuidenhout to capture his first European Tour victory and become the first Australian to win on the European Tour in 20 years.