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March 31 2011

8:27 PM

O'Hern fixes problems on greens

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Nick O'Hern is trying to regain full status on the PGA TOUR.

Every golfer in the world has been there, and it happened to Nick O'Hern last week. In Round 1 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, he hit the ball great -- but took 34 putts. He briefly considered filing for divorce from his trademark long putter, whom he'd been married to for 16 years.

O'Hern needed only 25 putts on Thursday. His 65 is likely to remain the lead against the afternoon groups currently out in force at Redstone.

"After last week on the greens, I thought maybe give the short putter a go. But I'm glad I didn't," O'Hern said. "It's natural for anyone to start tinkering if things aren't going according to plan. I didn't think I was putting badly, but nothing was going in, so that's when you probably think maybe a change is on the cards. But as I say, it's worked out pretty well."

O'Hern is trying to earn enough money to shake his Medical Extension status on TOUR, which he was forced to take after undergoing two knee surgeries after the 2010 PLAYERS.

"I had an ACL reconstruction on my right knee last year. I snapped it about 20 years ago," O'Hern said. "Just wear and tear it was time to get it fixed. I actually had my left knee done at the same time. So I have both knees operated on, went for the package deal and had them both done."

A healthy O'Hern is back to hitting fairways, which he knows he must do to compete on TOUR. He missed only two of them on Thursday.

"The big thing for me on this TOUR is driving the ball. I'm one of the shortest hitters, but I'm usually one of the most accurate," O'Hern said. "I haven't been accurate at all of late. My game revolves round hitting fairways and therefore I can hit greens and hopefully make putts."

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