With new toy in bag, Bryson DeChambeau eyes new lines at Augusta National

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AUGUSTA, Ga. – It doesn’t have a 48-inch shaft, but Bryson DeChambeau has a new toy in the bag for the Masters.

After flirting with the idea of using a longer driver last November, DeChambeau ultimately stuck with his regular model and tied for 34th at Augusta National. This time, with five months to tinker, the world No. 5 will debut a new club: a prototype Cobra driver that he says will help improve consistency on off-center strikes at high speeds.

DeChambeau told GolfChannel.com about the driver last month at the WGC-Workday Championship. “Nobody knows how to play a 200-mph ball speed and barely mis-hit it; sometimes it doesn’t react the way you think it should,” he said then. Though he didn’t offer many specifics on his new club, DeChambeau said Tuesday that the numbers so far are very encouraging.

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“Just know this has been a few years in the making, and I’m very excited for it,” he said. “Whether it helps me perform at a higher level, I’m not sure, because it’s golf and you never know what happens. Definitely what I’ve seen on the driving range and what I’ve seen the last week in practice, there’s some tremendous benefits to it.”

His swing coach, Chris Como, posted a photo on social media earlier this week that showed DeChambeau with a 350-yard carry and 210-mph ball speed. There was also a viral clip of him maniacally swinging on the tournament practice area, much to the delight of former Masters champion Vijay Singh, who watched on nearby.

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With his new equipment and Augusta National playing firmer and faster than during the autumn Masters, DeChambeau said he is planning to take some unique lines off the tee:

• Over the trees down the right side of No. 1

• Down the hill on 2

• Driving the green on 3

• Flying the bunkers, even into the wind, on 5

• Over the trees down the left side of 9

• Carrying the trees on the right side of 11

DeChambeau already leads the PGA Tour in driving distance, averaging 320.8 yards, and tops the strokes gained: off the tee (1.144) statistic. Still, he acknowledges that his success here – he has never finished inside the top 20 – will ultimately come down to his approach play.

“Looking at opportunities, it’s not just the par 5s but mainly the par 4s for me and how I can attack those par 4s to give myself the best opportunity to make a lot of birdies out there,” he said.