A change in his grip and some extra practice on the greens
has Ben Curtis rolling at the Valero Texas Open. The three-time
TOUR winner tweaked his grip and put in the extra practice
following a dismal putting effort at the Shell Houston Open in late
March. That dropped his Strokes Gained - Putting Rank to No. 183
– which would be just his second time outside the top 60
since 2007. He’s taken just 52 putts in two rounds on TPC San
Antonio’s difficult greens and, after a pair of bogey-free
5-under 67s, he finds himself leading in the clubhouse after
Friday's early wave. “When you have confidence with the
putter you're not afraid to hit it to 30 feet and knowing the worse
case you're going to walk off with a par,” Curtis said.
“With the greens like they are here, you hit it on the right
line with good speed they're going to go in because they roll so
true. They're really good surfaces to putt on.” The 2003
British Open Champion last won on TOUR in 2006 and hasn’t
posted a top-10 finish since the 2010 Arnold Palmer Invitational
presented by MasterCard. He’s been short on chances in 2012
thus far. Curtis is making just his fourth TOUR start of the season
following a 149th-place standing on last year’s money list --
his worst mark since joining the PGA TOUR in 2003. With his
conditional status, Curtis is facing an unusual schedule setup.
“Every other year (I’ve) played -- since '03, you know,
pretty much had it laid out before the year started,” he
said. “But this year, you know, the status that I have, I
went to Europe for three weeks early in the year, played over there
and then just tried to get in some events over here, you know.
Hopefully get in a few more after this week.” Continued
strong play through the weekend will be a step in the right
direction toward expanding upon that schedule and gaining a little
more job security in 2012.