By Stan Awtrey, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- The locals at The Heritage take every opportunity to embrace anyone with South Carolina roots. Whether they hail from Clemson or South Carolina, are a native or moved into the area, the fans unabashedly pull for their own.
This week the recipient of their favor may be D.J. Trahan. The Clemson graduate and Mount Pleasant, S.C., resident made a nice move up the leaderboard with a 67 on Friday and was tied two shots behind the leaders after the morning wave. He has two TOUR victories, but would rank a win at Harbour Town at the top of his list.
"It’s like the fifth major to me," Trahan said. "I don’t want to put it ahead of THE PLAYERS, but I grew up here. If I won this tournament, it would mean almost as much as winning a (major) championship."
Trahan hasn’t had much success at Harbour Town. In seven
appearances he’s missed the cut three times and his best
finish was a tie for 17th in 2008.
Trahan struggled early this season, but seemed to have a breakthrough when he tied for 12th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last month. He didn’t qualify for the Masters and took last week off to work on his game to get ready for The Heritage. He spent time with his father Don "The Swing Surgeon" Trahan, a PGA teaching professional, who has worked with his son since he was old enough to swing a club.
"I’ve been furious with myself for the way I played," Trahan said. "I worked hard on my game. I think I got a little lackadaisical and nonchalant and it certainly showed. But you can’t really complain out here. You have to keep it between the ropes and keep it in between the pine trees."
Trahan said he needed to work on his ball striking, which has historically been the best part of his game. He experimented with a belly putter for about a month and is currently using a longer putter. "I need to make more putts, plain and simple," he said. "I’m not going to put any pressure on it. I’m hitting the ball great. I’m going to keep trying to make putts and hopefully some more will go in."
D.J. TRAHAN'S SCORECARD: