By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Chris DiMarco doesn't enjoy the good-byes. Not with two teenagers and an 8-year-old at home.
And when you're not playing well, it's even harder to pack your bags and head to the next PGA TOUR stop. DiMarco knows as well as anyone. He's only had one top-10 finish in his last 86 starts.
Things appear to be looking up for DiMarco, though -- particularly after Friday's 64 on the Nicklaus Course that left him at 12 under and four strokes off the lead. He birdied all four par 5s and "threw in a couple extra there," DiMarco said.
"You got to have one of these rounds to contend here,” he said. "You have to have an 8 or 9 under and you got an 8 under today to put myself in position at least to see the leaders for the next couple days."
A new caddy and a healthy outlook after putting shoulder surgery and nagging wrist injuries behind him has helped. His iron play is much improved, too, and DiMarco, who tied for 13th last week in Hawaii, is excited to see what he can make happen this year.
"The problem with golf is you have to play through (injuries)," DiMarco said. "So you tend to work yourself into some bad habits and what you're used to seeing isn't happening as much, so your confidence goes a little bit.
"So as far as confidence goes, my confidence is really coming back, I'm hitting the ball as good as I've hit it in a long, long time. For me, … when I'm not seeing anything go left, that's when I'm playing really good and that's what I'm seeing right now.
“I'm able to be real aggressive and I'm hitting the shot, I'm looking up, and the ball's going where I want it to go and that's always a good thing."
DiMarco, who was ranked seventh in the world back in 2005, admits he got discouraged at times. But now that he's playing better golf, it will be easier to justify those road trips.
"For me it's definitely, would I rather be with my kids?
Absolutely," DiMarco said. "But as long as I'm playing good golf
and I'm still competitive out here, this is where you want to be.
Not a bad gig to be out here.
“So obviously when I'm playing the level I'm used to playing -- and I'm getting back there, I really am -- I'm starting to get the confidence and the feel and feeling like I should be there and I think that's the most important thing. You lose it for a couple years and you don't know if you're ever going to get it back and I'm starting to feel that again."