Beaufort News

Return to old home going better this week for Trahan

D.J. Trahan offers no explanation for why his seven-year professional career at Harbour Town Golf Links includes zero top-15 finishes. He wonders why so many expect so much.

Trahan still says he feels no more comfortable at Harbour Town -- a course on which he grew up -- than other stops on the PGA Tour.

He's told it should feel like home. After all, his father, Don, was once the Harbour Town director of instruction. D.J. spent his childhood attending the Heritage tournament every year during Hilton Head High's spring break. He met the pros. He walked the course with the best of them as a standard bearer and felt as if he belonged.

After two bogey-free rounds to start the 2011 Heritage, he certainly belongs now.

Trahan followed a bogey-free opening round with a 4-under 67 on Friday, placing him in a tie for ninth place, only four shots back of second-round leader Luke Donald heading into the weekend.

Trahan, whose best finish at the tournament is 17th, has put together back-to-back rounds in the 60s for the first time in seven Heritage appearances. And even he admits, Harbour Town is starting to feel more and more like home.

"If I won this tournament," he said, "it would mean almost as much as a major championship to me."

The timing couldn't be better.

Trahan came stumbling into the Heritage, having missed the cut in five of his nine events this season. He has finished in the top 45 just once in what he calls a horrific start to 2011. That came at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in late March, when he finished tied for 12th.

He hasn't won a tournament since 2008.

"I'm starving to win," said Trahan, a former Clemson golfer. "I feel like I've played so far below my potential to this point in my career. That's something that really ticked me off and really got me going the last two weeks."

Trahan hasn't played in those two weeks, instead spending time working with an old high school friend on his game. Rather than focus on his weaknesses, he's returned to emphasizing what he considers his greatest strength -- ball-striking -- which certainly bodes well at Harbour Town, a course known for rewarding the world's best ball-strikers rather than its longest hitters.

Through two rounds, he is the only player in the field yet to record a bogey.

"I think the course sets up really well for me," Trahan said. ".. I've played good golf. I never put myself behind the 8-ball. I was hitting the ball where it needed to be hit. That's the No. 1 thing this golf course demands."

Consistency and focus. Trahan has played with both in the opening two rounds. But for the first time in his career, he will be playing on the weekend with his name on the leaderboard.

Trahan doesn't need to be told how quickly the tide can turn at Harbour Town. He's missed the cut more times than he's survived it. His career scoring average is more than a shot over par.

"You can't relax on this golf course; it's too hard," Trahan said. "I really enjoy being here. I love the area. I grew up here. That certainly puts me at ease a little bit. But the golf course brings the attention right back to you."

SOUTH CAROLINA TIES UNDER PAR

D.J. Trahan -6

Matt Bettencourt -4

Tommy Gainey -4

Ben Martin -3

Bill Haas -2

Kris Blanks -2

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