Beaufort News

Heritage Notebook: Staying with the old putter works for two

After seeing Adam Scott tie for second at the Masters with a long putter, the trend of using non-traditional putters seems to be spreading.

But two players at the top of the leaderboard resisted the urge, and it paid dividends.

First-round leader Garrett Willis went through his pre-round practice Thursday with a belly putter but switched back to his regular putter at the last minute and carded a 7-under-par 64.

And Tim Herron, one of four players tied for second at 6 under, contemplated switching to a long putter before sticking with his usual putter.

"I wasn't catching the long putter quite square on the face, so I went back to my old putter and just pushed the ball in the hole, and it worked that way," said Herron, who needed 25 putts, one more than Willis. "I've had so many lessons over the years putting that I kind of just went back to what feels good instead of probably what's right."

HAAS STUMBLES AFTER BREAK

When play was suspended because of thunderstorms Thursday afternoon, Greenville resident Bill Haas was charging up the leaderboard. He was in the midst of a bogey-free round and sitting at 5-under par with a 3-foot birdie putt awaiting him on the par-5 fifth hole.

Haas made that birdie to get within one shot of the lead with four holes to play, but he made two bogeys and a triple bogey before play was stopped because of darkness, leaving him six shots off the lead at 1 under.

MISTAKE HURTS ELS

Ernie Els was already on his way to failing to break par in the first round when a careless mistake cost him two more shots.

On the par-4 eighth hole, Els walked through a greenside bunker and raked his footsteps before hitting his shot from the sand, resulting in a two-shot penalty that led to a triple-bogey 7.

Els finished at 4-over 75.

MOLINARI NOT WELL

At No. 19 in the Official World Golf Ranking, Italy's Francesco Molinari is the seventh-highest ranked player in the field this week, but Molinari didn't have a great first round -- because he didn't feel great.

"Playing 18 holes being food poisoned is not fun," Molinari posted on his Twitter account. "Hopefully I'll be fit for tomorrow and go low."

Molinari shot 1-over-par 72 and probably will need a better round today to make the cut.

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