NORTON, Mass. – The two golfers on top of the leaderboard at the Dell Technologies Championship are coming off very different weeks. Abraham Ancer missed the cut at The Northern Trust, while Bryson DeChambeau won it.
But this is a new week, and it was Ancer who shot a front-nine 30 and then held on after the turn to post a 6-under 65 that put him a shot ahead of DeChambeau.
“I hit the ball real good today,” Ancer said. “I got the putter rolling on the front nine. Not so much on the back nine, but I still hit the ball really well. There was a good stretch of holes out there on the back nine that you have to hit it really, really good and I managed to do that.”
Four of the six hardest holes at TPC Boston come one after another, starting with the uphill, 231-yard par-3 11th hole. Ancer made his only bogey of the day on the hardest hole on the course, the 12th, after hitting into a fairway bunker, but was able to maintain his composure.
“I could have lost it, or maybe other people would have carried that over a little bit longer, but I tried to let it go as quick as I could,” Ancer said.
The PGA Tour rookie out of the University of Oklahoma bounced back with a birdie on the 15th hole by hitting his approach shot from 139 yards out to 13 feet and then making the birdie putt.
Ancer will be paired on Monday with DeChambeau, who after winning in New Jersey came into this week as the top-ranked player on the FedEx Cup points list. He played like it on Sunday, shooting a 63 that included birdies on 16 and 17, followed by an eagle on the 531-yard par-5 18th hole that was set up by a 5-iron shot to inside 2 feet of the cup.
“I had no clue it was that close,” DeChambeau said. “I heard the crowd get louder and louder and louder, and I looked up and finally saw the ball peak up over that hill. Oh, it’s like a foot. Sweet.”
DeChambeau is attempting to be just the second player to win the first two legs of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Vijay Singh did it on his way to winning the overall FedEx Cup title in 2008.
Asked what his approach on Monday will be, DeChambeau said that he plans to use the same strategy that was successful at Ridgewood Country Club last week. He wants to pay attention to the wind and the course conditions, make smart decisions and make sure that when he does not execute shots properly, his misses go to areas where he can recover.
“I know it’s cliché to say all that stuff, but that’s honestly what it is,” DeChambeau said.
England’s Tyrrell Hatton shot 69 to finish tied with DeChambeau in second at 12 under.
For much of the day, it seemed like good fortune was shining on Hatton almost as brightly as the shined over the massive crowds. For example, on the fourth hole, after pushing his tee shot on the 285-yard par-4 to the right and into the fescue, Hatton somehow hit a wedge shot cleanly enough to not only punch it onto the green but also make it stop 17 behind the hole. From there he made a tricky putt for birdie, his third in the first four holes.
After making a bogey on the ninth, Hatton found himself in thick rough on the left side of the 10th fairway, 170 yards from the hole. His approach shot flew over the green, but instead of bounding into the shrubs it hit the curb on the cart path and ricocheted back, toward the green. Then, from 53 feet away, the Englishman pitched in for another miraculous birdie that took him to 13 under and into sole possession of the lead.
Hatton’s luck ran out two holes later on the 12th hole when he hit an approach from the left rough that hit the cart path on the right side of the fairway and then bounced into the woods. The ball was never found, and he had to play the provisional shot he had hit from the left side of the fairway and scored a double-bogey-6.
Cameron Smith (69) and Justin Rose (70) are tied for fourth at 11 under.
There were other low rounds posted by several players on Sunday, including a 64 from Emiliano Grillo that moved him into a tie for sixth with Rory McIlroy, who shot 66. Brice Garnett shot 65, while Kyle Stanley, Daniel Berger, Peter Uihlein, Brandt Snedeker and Matt Kuchar carded 66s.
Only the players ranked in the top 70 on the FedEx Cup point list after the conclusion of play on Monday will qualify to compete next week at the BMW Championship at Aronimink Golf Club in Philadelphia.
The table below shows the players who started this week ranked No. 60 through No. 100, along with their projected point totals after two rounds at the Dell Technologies Championship.