Bryson DeChambeau was making use of the new rules of golf by putting with the flagstick in at the Sentry Tournament of Champions... and it definitely paid off.
DeChambeau led the field in strokes gained: putting during the first round of the limited field event in Kapalua on Thursday, posting a four-under 69 to end up in a tie for 6th heading in to Friday. And he did it by taking advantage of the new rules.
Bryson always said he was 'absolutely' going to putt with the pin in while he was on the green when he thought the situation would give him the best advantage.
"It depends on the COR, the coefficient of restitution of the flagstick," DeChambeau had said back in November. "In U.S. Opens, I'll take it out and every other Tour event, when it's fiberglass, I'll leave it in and bounce that ball against the flagstick if I need to."
It's one of the biggest changes to the rules of golf implemented at the start of the year, and DeChambeau stayed true to his word.
On the the par-five 5th hole DeChambeau made a birdie to go from one-over to level-par, and used it again while making birdies on the 11th, 14th and 16th holes.
"I feel like I maximized my potential on that," DeChambeau said about it after his round. "Especially on 16 today, where it's kind of blowing downwind, five percent slope, straight downhill, you want that pin in to help. So that's what I kind of did and utilized it to my advantage. So I felt like for the most part I needed the pin to be in and it went in and it was a very nice help."
Asked if it's pretty black and white when he will use it and when he won't, DeChambeau replied that it completely depends on the situation.
"It's so situational and I don't know when it's actually going to hurt me, if it is going to hurt me. So that's why I got to understand that, when it does hurt me I'll know and that I won't do it anymore. But as of right now it seems like it's a pretty nice benefit every once in a while."
But DeChambeau wasn't the only one to test out the new rule. On the fifth hole, Marc Leishman make an eagle - tapping in with the pin still in the hole. Although he admitted it isn't something he's going to be doing regularly.
"I thought to have the putting with the pin in and it was only, I mean it wouldn't have been six inches, the putt, so I thought I could just lag it in the front edge and make sure it didn't hit the pin and bounce out," says Leishman.
"So, yeah, it was the first one I've done, probably the last, but I thought I better get one out of the way."