(Reuters) - Bryson DeChambeau will have an excellent opportunity to show off his newfound power at the driver-friendly TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut on Thursday against a field that has seen several top players withdraw due to COVID-19 concerns.
The 26-year-old American has been crushing balls after adding muscle during the PGA Tour’s three-month break and has been knocking on the door of a win since the restart with top 10 finishes at Colonial and at Harbour Town last week.
“I think this golf course suits me a little bit better,” he told reporters ahead of the opening round of the Travelers Championship.
“I can use the length to my advantage on the front nine and there’s a couple of holes on the back nine I can do the same,” he said.
“I definitely feel like I can let it go a lot more.”
DeChambeau will benefit from a field that saw major champions Brooks Koepka and Graeme McDowell withdraw on Wednesday after their caddies both tested positive for COVID-19.
Hard-hitting Cameron Champ withdrew earlier in the week after he became the second PGA Tour golfer to test positive for the virus, and last week’s winner Webb Simpson said he would sit the tournament out after a family member tested positive.
In response the PGA Tour on Wednesday said stricter safety measures would be put in place.
The thinning of the still-impressive field could clear the way for DeChambeau, who added 25 pounds during the break and has his sights set on winning his first major title this year.
“I knew that if I could start working out my body every single day, I’d be better the next day, and other people would be behind,” he said.
“I thought that if I could do that every single day through quarantine, I’d come back a different person, and I did, and I hope that it’s given me an edge.”
Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Christopher Cushing