Playing partners Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson were left gobsmacked when playing partner Bryson DeChambeau produced a freakish drive of 427-yards on day two of the Travelers Championship.
DeChambeau has been the centre of attention since returning to competition at last fortnight’s Tour stop in Texas.
The 26-year old American has bulked-up big time adding 40 pounds and in the process bounding from 34th in ‘Driving Distance’ at the end of last year to now be ranked first with an official average distance off the tee of 320.5 yards even though the young American has been longer than that.
But little did anyone expect the golfer, looking more like Hulk Hogan, to produce a drive of 427-yards which DeChambeau achieved at the 467-yard 10th hole on day two of the Travelers Championship on the TPC River Highlands course.
The 10th is a straight hole but with the last third of the fairway slightly left running down to the green.
DeChambeau’s tee shot headed right before it bounced twice off a cart path and then came back onto the cart path, and then rolled down the path stopping just 40-yards from the hole
DeChambeau’s tee shot was 88-yards shy of the official Guinness World Record for the longest drive in tournament play, the 515 yards/471-metres recorded by American Mike Austin in a 1974 event at the Winterwood course in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The World No. 11 was afforded a ‘free’ drop from the cart path but horribly flew the green with his second and took three shots from 30-feet to find the bottom of the cup for a bogey ‘5’ on route to a 67 for an eight-under par tally.
Meanwhile Phil Mickelson set about collecting a third Travelers title with ‘Lefty’ brilliantly grabbing the lead with a sizzling 63 for a 13-under par tally and one clear of 24-year old compatriot Will Gordon (62) and Canadian Mackenzie Hughes (68) tied in second place at 12-under par.
McIlroy posted a ‘no frills’ 69 to be four shots back of Mickelson in a six-way share of fourth place at nine-under par.
It was a par, par start for the World No. 1 ranked McIlroy before finding a first fairway of his round at the third hole thanks to a booming 334-yard missile, resulting in McIlroy’s first birdie in holing a seven-footer.
He gave the shot back with a bogey in finding a greenside bunker at the par-3 fifth hole before the second birdie of his round when McIlroy two-putted the par-5 sixth hole.
McIlroy also made a mess of the second par-3 over the outward nine in finding the water with his tee shot at the eighth but again regrouping with birdies at nine and 11 but then producing seven closing pars.
“I didn’t quite have it like I had yesterday, but I felt like the course was a little trickier this afternoon than we had it yesterday morning,” said McIlroy.
“The wind was swirling a little bit. Greens were getting a little firmer. I feel like I could have gone a little lower, but still right there going into the weekend. I know what it feels like to go low out here, so I’ll need a couple of good ones over the weekend.
“So, the game feels in decent shape, and obviously get out early tomorrow and try to get back in the mix.”
Fellow Open Champion, Shane Lowry was all smiles, finally ensuring he will play all four rounds for a first occasion since the lifting of the COVID-19 lockdown measures last fortnight in Texas.
However, Lowry was back-pedalling early on day two with first and fourth hole bogeys before steading the ship thanks to birdies at six and seven.
Lowry then stalled with eight straight pars but holed a monster 33-footer for birdie at the par-3 16th to move to five-under and ended with two pars for a round of 69 and a five-under par tally to be two shots inside the three-under par cut-off mark.