AFTER missing eight straight cuts US PGA Tour rookie Scott Gardiner has bounced back with his best finish since his debut tournament in January.
Things could have been even better for Gardiner, with the Aussie golfer just two off the pace going into the weekend at the 2013 Wells Fargo Championship.
Gardiner, the first indigenous Australian to make the tour, shot a bogey free 5-under 67 in the second round at the Quail Hollow Golf Club to be tied for second behind tour veteran Phil Mickelson going into the third round.
The 37 year old got lots of extra media and crowd attention playing with Mickelson in the final group on Saturday and that no doubt aided his not so spectacular closing rounds of 76 and 73.
Still, those scores were still good enough for a 2-under tournament finish, tied with John Senden as the best placed Aussie and T22 in the field.
The event was won by another tour rookie in 22 year old Californian Derek Ernst (70).
Ernst, who only got into what was his ninth tour start as fourth alternate, beat England’s David Lynn (70) in a playoff after Mickelson (73) squandered a late lead in what were bitterly cold and wet conditions.
Gardiner, who graduated to the premier tour this year after eight seasons on the secondary Web.com Tour, opening his 2013 campaign with a bang at the first full field event of the year, the Sony Open in Hawaii, finishing tied for 15th.
He made three cuts in his first four events but things haven’t looked so pretty since.
“I got a false impression,” said Gardiner, commenting on his start to the year after his second round on Friday. “These guys are good. I’m not going to lie.”
Gardiner credited his form turnaround in part to some work during the week with short game guru Dave Stockton Snr. .
“It’s turned out well so far,” Gardiner said, adding he’s also gone back to some old swing thoughts. “It’s given me some structure, which I didn’t have. When you’re lacking in confidence, structure is something that helps you, because you sort of think about the process as opposed to all the bad shots you’ve hit.”
“I just want to play two more good rounds. It’s going to be a thrill. … I’m doing what I love doing, and to do it with some of the best players in the world, generally you have a great atmosphere when that happens. It gets your adrenaline going.
“For me, playing in the last few groups, it’s kind of like when you watch football in the finals, the adrenaline is pumping and you do things that you’re not normally capable of doing. For me, most of the time, that’s been positive. I would like to do it more.”2013 Wells Fargo Championship Leaderboard