U.S. amateur DeChambeau outshines superstars in Abu Dhabi

Thu Jan 21, 2016 10:04am EST
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By Matt Smith

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - American amateur Bryson DeChambeau stole the limelight from golf's big guns Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy on his European Tour debut, seizing a first-round lead at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship on Thursday.

The self-described “golfing scientist” sank seven birdies and an eagle in carding an eight-under par 64, a stroke clear of world number five Henrik Stenson and two ahead of four-time major winner Rory McIlroy. Top-ranked Jordan Spieth was two shots further back on 68.

“I had no expectations coming into today, free-wheeled it and pretty much hit every fairway and was able to make a couple putts,” said DeChambeau, 22.

Unusually, the flat-cap-wearing physics student uses clubs that are all the same length.

“It works pretty well. It helps me keep my same posture, same setup, same everything,” said the Californian.

“I'm trying to analyse and understand each and every aspect of the golf course and the way I played. I'll analyse today and see what I can do better tomorrow.”

McIlroy, 26, and Spieth, 22, played in a trio alongside world number six Rickie Fowler (70) that drew big crowds despite the near-dawn start.

Northern Ireland’s McIlroy started the stronger, picking up four birdies on the opening six holes in his first tournament since winning November’s DP World Tour Championship, but Spieth’s two late birdies kept the U.S. Masters champion in touch with the leaders.   Continued...

Golf - Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship - Abu Dhabi Golf Club, United Arab Emirates - 21/1/16
USA's Bryson Dechambeau plays his tee shot at the 18th hole during the first round
Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs