By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
AVONDALE, La. -- A switch to a cross-handed grip earlier this week continues to pay dividends for Rickie Fowler at TPC Louisiana.
He's used the left hand-low approach before in high school and college, as well as in practice, so it's not like the grip was foreign to him. But right now, Fowler feels more comfortable using it -- and he had eight birdies to show for it on Friday.
Fowler's 65 was his low round of the season and moved him to 8 under for the tournament, which is four behind Jason Dufner. He used 27 putts in the second round and 29 in the first, and Fowler said he felt the new grip allowed him to stroke the ball more smoothly.
"My set-up was a little bit more, I guess, proper or where it should have been and I felt like I was having to kind of force the issue with traditional grip," Fowler explained. "So it just felt more comfortable, put me in a good position to, you know, strike the ball where I want to and basically simplified it a bit."
Of course, Fowler probably could have made his final birdie no matter what grip he used as that stellar 6-iron on the vexing par 3 ninth hole settled just 32 inches from the pin for a tap-in.
"The only way it could have been any better if it went in but the flight was perfect and shot it where I wanted to," Fowler said. "... Actually that's not a hole where you're thinking you're going to walk away with 2. ... If you hit a good shot (you're thinking) maybe 15 feet left of the hole. To get it inside ten feet, I wasn't planning on it but I was -- like I say, it came off perfect and ended up really nicely."
Fowler wasn't just a putting machine on Friday, though. He hit 12 of 14 fairways and all but three greens in regulation, too, as the wildly popular Oklahoma State product chases what would be the first win of his PGA TOUR career.
"Definitely pleased with the way I played," Fowler said. "Left a few out there but the game feels good, hitting it in good spots, feel good where the game is at. Looking forward to this weekend."