Bryson DeChambeau remains determined to drive the green on the par-five sixth hole at Bay Hill, but only if the wind conditions are suitable.
The sixth was listed as 528 yards for the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but the hole doglegs around a huge lake and the carry from tee to green on a direct route is around 330 yards – a shot which DeChambeau has in his armoury.
The US Open champion caused a stir in the build-up to the tournament when he attempted to make the carry in a practice round, and he considered going straight at the green in the first round but felt the wind was coming from slightly the wrong direction.
DeChambeau still shaved off a lot more of the dogleg than most of the field, and although he did not beat Rory McIlroy’s earlier drive of 328 yards, the American only had an iron in hand for his second shot and made his third straight birdie before going on to card a 67.
“There was a high expectation level of me trying to go for the green there and it was a little pressure that I wasn’t expecting,” he admitted afterwards. “But it was fun. The crowds were great with it. I pulled out an iron as a joke off the tee box.
“And for me, the wind was just too much off of the right and the tee shot was more into the wind than anything. And with the driver that I’m using right now, it’s a heavier head and so I can’t get the speeds that I’m trying to obtain on the golf course out here, but it has a little more control to it.
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“If it was one of my normal drivers, I totally could have done it today, but if it’s more downwind, I’ll be able to do it tomorrow, hopefully, or some time during the weekend. If it’s 10 miles an hour downwind, I’ll for sure go for it.”
While McIlroy was able to secure bragging rights with a longer drive on a bold line, he was not entertaining thoughts of going for the green from the tee.
“I don’t have that 200 ball speed in the bag that Bryson has,” said McIlroy after his 66 which included five straight birdies on the front side. “I mean, I can hit it good and get it out there, but today I hit seven-iron in, I’m very happy hitting into that green with a seven-iron every day.”
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