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July 7 2011

5:41 PM

Howell hones in with putter

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Charles Howell III is the latest to turn to the long putter, and it's working.

By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM

A few weeks ago, Charles Howell III became the latest player to switch to a belly putter. The decision seems to be paying dividends.

Howell tied for third in each of his last two starts, and Thursday he opened with a 5-under 66 at TPC Deere Run that included three birdies and an eagle on the par-5 17th.

“Putting's better,” Howell said. “I guess they're not for everybody and whatnot. I never thought I'd use one, but it's helped.”

So did an early tee time in the opening round.

Perfect conditions made for good scoring for Howell and others.

“It was nice to get nine holes of perfect green, not that the greens are bad by any stretch, but no spike marks, no anything,” Howell said. “And then we didn't have very much wind till the end. This golf course does give up some birdies and low scores, but it was awful nice to be out first.”

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