AUGUSTA, Ga. — If missing the fairway wasn’t enough reason for Bryson DeChambeau to dial it back on the tee at Augusta National, he found another one in Friday’s second round of the Masters.
After a birdie on the par-5 second hole moved him to 3 under for the tournament, DeChambeau took an aggressive angle off the tee on the par-4 third.
DeChambeau, who leads the tournament in driving distance, hit his tee shot so high and hard that it apparently plugged in the rain-soaked rough.
At one point, at least 15 people were searching for the ball — without any luck.
In 2019, the USGA and R&A reduced the time limit for searching for a lost ball from five minutes to three. As time was winding down Friday, DeChambeau argued that his ball was lost because of casual water in the area.
“How about casual water?” he asked a rules official.
“But it’s not casual water here,” the rules official explained.
Then DeChambeau suggested that his ball might have landed in an area that was designated as ground under repair.
“So you’re saying that if we knew for sure that it’s in this area and it’s ground under repair, there’s nothing we can do,” DeChambeau said.
The rules officials explained to DeChambeau that he didn’t know for certain that was where his ball landed because he couldn’t find it.
DeChambeau jumped into a golf cart and drove back to the tee to hit another drive. He hit his second tee shot to nearly the same spot, then blasted his chip shot over the green, failed to get up and down, and made a triple-bogey 7.
Adding insult to injury: Someone found DeChambeau’s lost ball after the three-minute window had expired, according to playing partner Jon Rahm.
“I know they found it afterwards, but we must have been close,” Rahm said. “I mean, when you have Bryson hitting it as hard as he hits it, it’s kind of hooking with not much spin into a soft area. We were all confident it was pretty buried and it was going to be hard to find.”
It was the low point of an up-and-down front nine for DeChambeau. He went on to bogey three holes and birdie two to make the turn at 3-over 39. He was 1-over for the tournament and through 12 holes when Friday’s play was suspended due to darkness.
Rahm said it was obvious the bad break affected DeChambeau.
“It’s unfortunate that the rules of golf don’t let you kind of figure out it’s somewhere there and keep playing,” Rahm said. “I know that affected him a little bit because he didn’t play his best golf after that. But he’s a fighter and he’s showing it. It was just unfortunate.”
It wasn’t the first time DeChambeau argued for relief under questionable circumstances. At the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Memphis, Tennessee, in July, he unsuccessfully argued that his ball was sitting near a hill of fire ants — or a burrowing animal hole.
At the Memorial two weeks earlier, DeChambeau found one of his lost balls under a metal fence and unsuccessfully argued that it was still in bounds. He asked for a second opinion, which was the same. He took a quintuple-bogey 10 on the hole and missed the cut.
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