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Despite yardage book mishap, Bryson DeChambeau fires 67 at U.S. Open

DeChambeau: 'I was striping it' in Round 1
Bryson DeChambeau chats with Smylie Kaufman after finishing his opening round at the U.S. Open and talks about adjustments he's made on his driver that helped him get in contention.

PINEHURST, N.C. – For most players, misplacing a yardage book before a round is an inconvenience, but for Bryson DeChambeau, whose meticulous preparation and devotion to data is the stuff of legend, it had the potential to be a real distraction.

That was the dilemma DeChambeau faced before setting out Thursday for Round 1 at the U.S. Open as officials scrambled to find his missing yardage book, which he’d accidentally dropped in a courtesy car on the way to the 10th tee.

“Definitely, it’s a bit of a comfort thing. It’s not a superstitious thing, that’s the first time I’ve done that in a long time. I just left it in the car,” he said. “Usually, I’m not going into a car before playing my round. Must have fallen out when I got out. Luckily, I got it back thanks to the officers.”

The temporary drama didn’t seem to impact DeChambeau’s play at Pinehurst as he opened with 3-under 67 for a share of fourth place, and he was two shots off the lead held by Rory McIlroy and Patrick Cantlay.

But it wasn’t DeChambeau’s score on an increasingly difficult layout that was as surprising as how he climbed his way up the leaderboard. After telling reporters earlier in the week he planned to embrace “boring golf” and explaining his plan to be “strategic” off the tee, he appeared to change his mind on Day 1.

DeChambeau was fifth in the field in driving distance (325-yard average) and first in strokes gained: off the tee.

“I drove it fantastic,” said DeChambeau, the winner of the 2020 U.S. Open. “That’s what I was focused on this week. If I could drive it well, make sure my irons are starting on my line, control my speed,”