Belly putter gives Furyk major spark at PGA C`ship
Johns Creek: Having struggled for form for much of this season, Jim Furyk decided to switch back to the belly putter just over a week ago and the move has reaped rich reward at this week`s PGA Championship.
Stroking the ball superbly on the pure greens at Atlanta Athletic Club, the former U.S. Open champion fired a flawless five-under-par 65 in Friday`s second round to surge into a four-way tie for third, one off the pace.
"When I made a mistake, when I missed a fairway, when I missed a green, when I had that 10-footer for par, I was able to knock it in," American Furyk told reporters after posting a four-under total of 136 in the year`s final major.
"I capitalised on more birdie putts today. I really don`t feel like I hit it any better by any means but I was just able to score and get the ball in the hole, and kind of keep the momentum going. “
"I`m happy with my situation right now. I`m going to be one back, right in the thick of things, teeing off late tomorrow. Really, I`m not really worried about everyone else."
Furyk began the second round eight shots behind pace-setting American Steve Stricker and ended it just a stroke adrift of two more Americans, the unheralded Jason Dufner and PGA Tour rookie Keegan Bradley.
"The golf course definitely played different today in the afternoon," said Furyk, a 16-times winner on the PGA Tour. "It was much drier, a little bit firmer and the greens, some of them got quite firm in spots. “
"It`s a tough golf course but I played a very solid round today."
Furyk produced the most successful season of his career last year with three wins on the PGA Tour, securing FedExCup honours and the $10 million bonus with his final victory at the Tour Championship.
Since then, however, he has recorded just two top-10s in his 2011 campaign along with seven missed cuts on the U.S. circuit, prompting him to resort to the belly putter before last week`s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
"This is maybe the third or fourth attempt in my career to go to the belly putter, dating back to probably in 2001 or 2002," said the 41-year-old, who claimed his only major title at the 2003 U.S. Open.
"I tried it a little bit last year in the (FedExCup) playoffs and threatened a little bit earlier this year. Finally in my week off before the Bridgestone event, I put it in play at home. “
"I still need to get maybe a little bit more comfortable with it, but it feels a lot better than what I was doing before. I like the position I`m at."