By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
AVONDALE, La. – It takes a couple good breaks to win a tournament on the PGA TOUR and Jason Dufner read the breaks correctly on the fourth and fifth holes on Saturday at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. He made a 51-foot birdie on the fourth and followed it up with a 24-foot birdie on the fifth. Two holes, 75 feet worth of putts. Dufner leads the tournament with a 37.5 percent conversion rate of putts from outside 25 feet.
Belted: Greg Chalmers has an interesting technique on the practice green. He fastens a belt around his knees. The Aussie has been having trouble with his left knee moving during the putting stroke and the belt alerts him to any movement. Chalmers ranks 18th in total putts this week, taking 81 putts through 54 holes.
Dukester: It’s fun to watch Ken Duke putt. He has a habit of raising his putter halfway into the air when the ball is tracking toward the cup. If the putt falls, Duke jams the putter skyward in celebration. There have been lots of celebrations this week for the Duke family, as he leads the tournament in Strokes Gained-Putting.
Getting a grip: Ryan Palmer said he had to do something about his putting. Even though the stats show him 22nd on TOUR in Strokes Gained-Putting, Palmer thought he could be better. So he switched grips to a thicker model this week. Not the thickest grip available, just thicker. Palmer describes it as “the thinnest of the thick grips.” For the week, he ranks eighth in total putting.
Patience: What was most impressive about Dufner on Saturday? He hit 14 greens, 10 fairways and used just 27 putts but the most impressive thing, to me, was his patience. Dufner, trying to win for the first time on TOUR, went without a birdie from the seventh hole to the 15th. During that eight-hole stretch he never panicked, never forced the issue. His patience was rewarded with birdies on two of his last four holes. Now we get to see if he can be patient and produce on Sunday. Dufner is ranked 108th on TOUR in final-round scoring.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio and on site this week at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.