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As Bryson DeChambeau has packed on the pounds and added distance, Pierceson Coody has had a front-row seat.
The two players share an instructor in Chris Como, who teaches out of Dallas National, and Coody, the rising University of Texas junior and standout amateur, has been around the transforming PGA Tour pro quite a bit these past few months.
“Just to grasp how much weight and speed he put on in a matter of months, it’s crazy how dedicated he was to it,” Coody said. “It’s definitely something I would try to do, maybe in a smaller capacity. … But I don’t know, Bryson, he had the height and the frame to add that. I’m not sure if I quite have all that extra growing room that he had.”
Coody’s legs may have felt like the 20-year-old had added some extra pounds this week in Carmel, Indiana, as Coody logged 138 holes around demanding Crooked Stick Golf Club en route to winning the prestigious Western Amateur.
He was the last man standing – but just barely.
“I haven’t felt this tired in a while,” Coody said after waking up from a much-needed nap in the back seat of his family’s car Sunday afternoon. At that point, the Coodys, including dad, Kyle, and mom, Debbie, were about five hours into their 13-hour road trip back to the Dallas area.
Kyle Coody, who played the Western back in his amateur days, caddied for his son through four rounds of stroke play in three days, followed by two straight 36-hole days of match play, which Coody capped with a 2-and-1 victory over Oklahoma State’s Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen.
“His feet hurt a little because of the rain and [he was wearing] tennis shoes, but he’ll be ready to go for the U.S. Amateur,” said Coody, who now sets his sights on another potentially grueling week at Bandon Dunes, which begins a week from Monday.
“But first, I’m going to take a day off,” Coody said. “My body’s aching pretty badly.”
Coody has also been battling the lingering effects of a right shoulder strain, which caused him to miss a tournament last fall for the Longhorns. The injury, though, has been manageable, Coody said, and his recent play has proved it.
He won every one of Texas’ qualifiers last season and produced three top-10s before the COVID-19 pandemic cut Coody’s sophomore year short. He also competed in both summer tournaments at his home club, Maridoe Golf Club, notching a pair of top-30s among dozens of tour pros, before returning to amateur competition with a T-9 showing at the Southern Amateur, also played at Maridoe.
He then earned a solo 10th finish after 72 holes at Crooked Stick, playing the final 36 holes in 2 under despite blustery and rainy conditions, to qualify for the 16-man match-play portion. Coody hadn’t played much meaningful match play until the Longhorns advanced to the final of the 2019 NCAA Championship. A couples of months later, he reached the Round of 16 at last year’s U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst.
“I gained a lot of internal confidence this week with the way I played in match play,” Coody said.
He put that self-belief on display at Crooked Stick, rallying from 2 down with seven to play to beat Alexander Yang in the first round before easily disposing of Connor Creasy, 5 and 4. On Saturday morning, Coody needed an extra hole to shake off red-hot Virginia signee George Duangmanee, and then grinded out the hard-fought win against Neergaard-Petersen in a match that saw only five birdies between the two players.
Coody is now the seventh Texas player to win the Western, joining a list that includes Ben Crenshaw, Justin Leonard, Beau Hossler and Coody’s current teammate Cole Hammer, who won the Western two summers ago before making it to the U.S. Amateur semifinals at Pebble Beach.
“With those names on the trophy, this one’s extra cool,” Coody said. “Knowing the history of the Western, this, along with the U.S. Am and NCAAs, is the pinnacle of amateur golf. To be able to knock one of three off the bucket list is incredibly satisfying. It just continues to add confidence and hopefully it carries on to next week at Bandon.”
Coody plans to be rested and ready.