Lost ball leaves DeChambeau in danger of missing Masters cut

Augusta (United States) (AFP) –


US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau, whose ball-bashing feats had people fearing he would overwhelm Augusta National, is struggling just to make the cut at the Masters.

The bulked-up American, a pre-Masters favorite who said the course played like a par-67 to him instead of a par-72, lost his ball on the third hole Friday on the way to a triple bogey that has him over the projected record-low 1-under cut line.

"I'm a little off," DeChambeau told the Golf Channel.

DeChambeau opened with a two-under 70 despite hooking several tee shots to the left, thanks to back-to-back closing birdies, and reached 3-under overall with a birdie Friday at the par-5 second.

Then it all fell apart.

DeChambeau blasted his tee shot at the par-4 third into rain-soaked rough and no one could find it.

"So you're saying if I can't find it, it's a lost ball?" DeChambeau asked a rules official as the search went on.

He became a victim of the lost ball rule, went back to the tee and started over, ending up with a triple-bogey 7 on the hole.

"Rules are rules," DeChambeau said.

The frustration appeared to linger, with DeChambeau making bogeys on the next two holes and following birdies at the par-3 sixth and par-5 eighth with bogeys at the seventh and 10th.

He closed the day with a birdie at the par-3 12th, the 155-yard shortest hole on the course. DeChambeau drives often go twice as far as the total distance of that hole.

But the birdie left him 1-over with six to play, including the par-5 13th and 15th, and with Augusta National surrendering a record number of sub-par scores, DeChambeau will need to take full advantage to play the final two rounds.

World number two Jon Rahm of Spain, a playing partner of DeChambeau, said he helped seek the lost ball but few saw hope of finding it.

"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," Rahm said.

"It's unfortunate that the rules of golf don't let you figure out it's somewhere there and keep playing.

"He had to re-tee and 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."