Well, I am back from a week’s vacation, and just in time to discuss a first-time winner on the PGA TOUR: Ted Potter Jr. Now, I must admit I was a bit partial to Troy Kelly in the playoff -- I had the great opportunity to work with Troy some towards the end of last year on the Web.Com Tour -- but am very happy for Potter and his first win.
Ted hit a lot of great shots during the three-hole playoff, but the one that stuck out for me was that short little pitch shot on the second playoff hole just short of the green. How many times have we all been in this situation? Just short of the green, need to carry a small greenside bunker onto the front portion of the green, and then let it release some. It doesn't seem too difficult, but with the tournament on the line and a lie that seemed a bit skinny and tight, it was a certainly a situation that would test anyone.
When facing these tight lies around the greens, here are three keys to learn from Potter's technique:
1. Start with the clubshaft forward and return it forward at impact. It's very important to use the leading edge some on this shot, so creating a forward leaning clubshaft is paramount in order to help manage this lie.
2. Short arm swing with a hinge. It is so easy to create too much movement during the backswing on this shot. This excessive movement creates an environment to decelerate through impact. Keep the arm swing conservative but be aggressive with the hinge allowing the clubhead to still work up the plane.
3. Turn the chest towards the target. Ted did a great job of keeping his chest turning through the shot, supporting this downward movement of the clubhead. It's so easy on these shots to try to help it with the hands at impact, so create a good hinge during the backswing and trust yourself through impact and turn the chest through the shot.
Travis Fulton is the Director of Instruction at the TOUR Academies at TPC Sawgrass and the World Golf Village. For more information on the TOUR Academy, click here.
ORLANDO – Thomas Bjorn and Bo Van Pelt withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard on Wednesday.
Van Pelt, who had a knee injury, was replaced by Ted Potter Jr. while Marc Leishman, who tied for third last year, landed Bjorn’s spot. Michael Bradley is now the first alternate.
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Ted Potter Jr., who is playing in just his second PGA TOUR event, has moved within a shot of the lead currently held by Camilo Villegas.
Villegas is 8 under through 15 holes while Potter is tied for second with David Toms. Villegas and Potter, who has played 14 holes, are playing the Nicklaus Course, while Toms is through 13 at La Quinta.
Potter should have come to the Coachello Valley with confidence. The Nationwide Tour grad tied for 13th in his PGA TOUR debut at the Sony Open, shooting three rounds in the 60s at Waialae last week.
Another rookie, Bud Cauley, is among three players tied at 6 under through 14 holes at La Quinta. Also in that group are Brandt Snedeker and Kevin Sutherland, both of whom are playing the Nicklaus Course and are through 12 and 13 holes, respectively.
When Bubba Watson and Ted Potter Jr. won tournaments in New Orleans and Valdosta, Ga., on Sunday it marked the first time lefthanders had won on the PGA TOUR and Nationwide Tour in the same weekend.
Watson won for the third time in 10 months when he beat Webb Simpson in a playoff at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Potter’s victory at the South Georgia Classic presented by First State Bank & Trust Co. was the first of his career.
Potter was the fifth different lefthander to win on the Nationwide Tour. The others are Greg Chalmers (2008 Henrico County Open, 2005 Albertsons Boise Open), Eric Axley (2005 Rex Hospital Open), Steve Flesch (1997 Nationwide Tour Championship) and Vic Wilk (1994 Knoxville Open).
Nine lefties have won on the PGA TOUR – headed by Phil Mickelson’s 39 victories.Mike Weir has eight wins, Bob Charles six, Flesch four, Watson three and Sam Adams, Ernie Gonzales, Russ Cochran and Axley one each.
Both Watson and Potter have a chance to make it two-in-a-row this week. Watson is playing in the Wells Fargo Championship while Potter tees it up at the Stadion Classic at UGA.