Bryson DeChambeau avoids complete Masters meltdown with epic hole-out finish

Bryson DeChambeau hung in there.

He said so himself after his 3-over 75, a round that featured plenty of fireworks but also somber emotions.

Despite tumbling down the leaderboard, DeChambeau still has a chance, even though his poor score indicates otherwise.

And it was all thanks to one shot.

The 2020 U.S. Open champion rifled his drive embarrassingly right on the 18th hole, nestling deep into the trees. His ball came to rest in a spot similar to where Xander Schauffele made an incredible par from a little earlier.

But unlike Schauffele, DeChambeau did not have a shot into the green. He had to chip out sideways as another bogey loomed. At that point, he sat at 2-under for the championship and 4-over for his round. A disappointing back-nine had completely taken the wind out of his sails, and he looked defeated.

One swing changed that, however.

DeChambeau holed out from 77 yards, giving himself an improbable birdie and an overwhelming feeling of jubilation.

“It’s not easy when the course conditions aren’t lending to your favor, and just the breaks aren’t going your way,” DeChambeau said.

“You just have to stay positive no matter what. I had a great break on 18. I’ll take that any day of the week.”

Before arriving at the 18th, DeChambeau made a bevy of mistakes on the back nine at Augusta National.

He three-putted 11 and then could not get up and down to save par from beside the green at 12. On the next hole, he found the par-5 13th in two, but three-putted yet again.

A birdie followed at 14, but his excitement from that hole was short-lived.

DeChambeau made a colossal error at the par-5 15th, chunking his third shot into the water, leading to a double-bogey seven.

That mistake came after an official gave him relief, too.

“I was trying to hit a shot around into the bunker,” DeChambeau explained.

“It just clipped a tree and shot back to the right. I was fortunate to get relief, and then ultimately I just dropped it in a fluffy little lie and thought it was a hard wind, and it was not.”

Another three-putt at the 16th hole followed, putting DeChambeau in disgust.

His chances of winning The Masters had plummeted, as Scottie Scheffler simultaneously reached 7-under par one group in front of him. He sat five strokes behind him going into the 18th hole.

“Sixteen, three-putt; 17, almost three-putt; on 18, I just figured that was easier than putting—joking obviously,” DeChambeau said.

“We’re not able to use greens books out here, I’ve had to learn and adjust to that. This is just another step. I’ve got to figure out, when the greens get this firm, this crisp, how to control the speed just a little bit better.”

Despite his brutal day on the greens, DeChambeau still has a fighting chance. His miracle birdie on the 18th hole gave him some momentum going into Sunday’s final round, as he will start the day four shots back of Scheffler.

“It’s very difficult to chase, but I’m going to take what I can on this golf course where I can, and I’ve got to make some putts,” DeChambeau reasoned.

“If I can make some putts tomorrow, I think I can have a good opportunity.”

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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