After a disappointing end to the Men’s NCAA Golf Championships last May, SMU juniors Bryson Dechambeau and Austin Smotherman had summers that left them with plenty of optimism heading into this season.
“We came off a good run at the NCAA’s and then went straight into our amateur summer of playing individual tournaments,” said Smotherman. “I went to Pennsylvania then came back to Texas to practice for a couple weeks, and then Bryson and I played in a couple USGA events that went pretty well for both us.”
Smotherman had success in the US Public Links, where he was able to advance to the match play portion, before losing to Matt Record by one hole in the round of 64.
It was Dechambeau’s play at the World Amateur Team Championship that made headlines. Dechambeau put US in position for a win, with a 61 in the 3rd round. He then birdied the last hole, on the final day, to win it for Team USA.
New SMU Head Coach Jason Enloe was happy to see both players experience success this summer. Enloe noted that golf is not a common sport to win, so it’s key to find other ways to build confidence.
“I think every positive experience you have in golf, whether its winning a tournament, shooting a great round like the 61, setting a record for the World Am, I think anytime you have a positive experience for golf, it helps you for your future in golf,” said Enloe.
SMU comes into this season with no seniors on the team, making it even more important for Dechambeau and Smotherman to maintain their 1-2 punch at the top of the lineup.
“Being co-captains for the team creates a unique atmosphere where we are holding each other and the team accountable for whatever we do,” said Dechambeau “When I am gone for some reason, Austin is there to be the team leader and when he is gone I will be there to help lead the team. It’s a 1-2 punch.”
Smotherman credited their friendship, that dates back to when they were 14, as a key contributor to the team’s success.
“That’s a good way to say it, a 1-2 punch between the two of us, we’ve known each other since we were about 14 and with him committing to SMU a couple months before I did, we’ve been able to feed off each other in the sense that we already have that friendship off the course, which makes it easier to be teammates on the course and off the course,” Smotherman said.
The Mustangs will be back in action October 5 when they play in the Erin Hills Intercollegiate. This will be Dechambeau’s first tournament of the year for SMUM, after missing the opener for his Team USA appearance.