WHAT is it with long putters these days? Stuart Appleby announces this week he is joining the extended stick brigade and suddenly he is one off the leaders in the latest US PGA Tour event.
Appleby shot a faultless six under 64 at the 2011 Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina, to trail the joint leaders, American duo Jeff Quinney and Tom Gainey.
Appleby has been in the golfing doldrums for some time and while admitting his round, that included an eagle on the par-5 fifth and four birdies on the back, was helped by more than an ounce of luck, was non the less happy with his new broomstick putter’s first competition outing.
While he was still getting used to the feel and stroke mechanics of the putter, he was sounding very confident for a player who acknowledged he had been having “a very ordinary year”.
Appleby made just one cut in his last 13 regular US PGA Tour events and finished last in this month’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where there was no cut.
On the other hand, long putters have had a phenomenal year, not the least of which in the hands of a resurgent Adam Scott. Last week Keegan Bradley became the first player to use a long putter to win a golf major.
(Expect to see more of them on a course near you. The manufacturers are rubbing there hands with glee.)
Last chance to make the palyoffs
For many players, The Wyndham Championship annually marks the last chance to crack the top 125 on the points list and qualify for the rich post season playoffs, which starts next week in New Jersey.
Ernie Els at No.126 is very well aware of that and will be happy to be one of the 10 players sitting on the third rung of the Leaderboard after a 5-under 65.
The other nine players on that mark on what was quite a low scoring day at the Sedgefield Country Club were Paul Casey, Carl Pettersson, Jason Bohn, Jimmy Walker, Tim Herron, Lee Janzen, Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh and George McNeill.
There are 11 Australians in the field with Greg Chalmers the next best placed on -4, Nathan Green at -3, Nick O’Hern, Cameron Percy, Jarrod Lyle, Rod Pampling and Marc Leishman on -2.
The 2011 Wyndham Championship is being telecast live in Australia on Fox Sports.