Bulked up Bash Brother Bryson DeChambeau battered vulnerable Colonial Country Club again in Friday’s second round of the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas.
Tipping the scales at 240 these days – he’s added 40 pounds of muscle the past eight months and exchanged his medium golf shirts for ones that have a tag that says X-Large – DeChambeau turned Colonial into a pitch-and-putt with a second consecutive 5-under-par 65 to stand at 10 under through 36 holes.
On the eye-catching leaderboard, DeChambeau is one shot out of the lead set by Harold Varner III, who overcame a triple-bogey 7 on his first hole of the second round and added a 66 to his opening-round 63 to get to 11 under.
Past Colonial winner Jordan Spieth is with DeChambeau in second place. World No. 1 Rory McIlroy came home with a 63 and is two shots back with Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele. World No. 4 Justin Thomas is in a group at 8 under with major champions Gary Woodland and Justin Rose.
But it has been DeChambeau’s bulging muscles and massive drives that have opened the most eyes at spectator-less Colonial.
Try these tee shots on for size – he hit drives of 335, 320, 349, 340, 335, 330, 310, 365 and 340 yards in the second round. On five par-4 holes, he had 100 yards or less into the green for his second shot. On the par-5 first, his 365-yard drive left him with just 164 yards into the green.
“It was fun being able to bomb it out there and hit it in the fairway most of the time,” said DeChambeau, who has five PGA Tour titles. “I felt like I just picked away the golf course. It wasn’t anything crazy out there, but when I needed to make pars or make a crucial 10-footer, I did it when I needed to, and just kept the train rolling today.”
Despite becoming Charles Atlas, DeChambeau hasn’t lost his touch on and around the greens. But the work is nearly being blotted out by his massive frame. And to some, it’s a really massive frame.
When DeChambeau got to the 16th hole, a grandstand erected off the grounds was full of fans taking note of the large golfer in front of them.
“I thought it was amazing what they did, saying I was coming in at 300 or whatever pounds, that was funny,” DeChambeau said. “They were quite a bit off, but they said like something around 350 area, and they’re 100 pounds off. I’m only 235 to 240 right now. I think when I play these next three weeks, I’ll get down to 230, but my ultimate goal is to get as strong as I can, and I don’t know what that weight is. I’m just going to keep proportionally making everything stronger and applying some force and speed to the golf swing to see what it can handle.”
In doing so, he’s been forced to overhaul his clubs.
“I’ve had to change my lofts like crazy recently,” he said. “I’m down to 5½ degrees on the driver. I’m looking to go get a 3-wood that’s around 10 degrees. I’m producing so much spin I have to change the clubs itself.
“It’s crazy stuff that I would have never expected to happen, but I’ve had to make adjustments because loft is irrelevant, it’s really about your launch angle and spin right coming off of the ball, and the ball speed. Pretty much that’s all that matters.”
Well, that’s what happens when your chasing speed, strength and length. His ball speed hovers around 200 mph with driver in hand – an eye-popping number. But he knows the most important numbers this weekend will be the ones on his scorecard. He knows he has to keep producing speed, distance and red numbers.
“There’s a lot of great players up there,” he said. “Looking forward to an amazing challenge. I’ve always liked this golf course, but for some reason I haven’t played my best here. I’m looking to change that this week.”