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May 12 2012

2:21 AM

Notes from inside the ropes

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Kevin Na has made birdies in bunches through the first two rounds.

By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Kevin Na has made a whopping 16 birdies in the first two rounds, that’s the most at THE PLAYERS Championship over the first 36 holes since 1983. He’s been very consistent, taking 24 putts in each of the first two rounds. Na has made putts but has also enjoyed a lot of looks from 10 feet thanks to some sharp iron play. He credits a swing change that he started implementing last year for giving him better balance.

Family affair: Matt Kuchar had the best greeting a father could receive at the end of his round -- kids waiting for him with their hugs. Kuchar’s parents live in Jacksonville and look after the kids, letting Matt and wife Sybi enjoy some private time off the golf course. The entire extended family posed for some pictures in a scene that Norman Rockwell could have painted.

Open stance: It appeared Tiger Woods slightly opened his putting stance and might have seen the lines better in his second round, where he shot 68. Woods has had 28 putts in each of the first two days. He also had a shoe replacement mid-round Friday, when an eyelet on his shoe broke at the fifth tee. A replacement was shuttled out to him on the course.

Putter change: Phil Mickelson continues to tinker with his clubs. He is ranked fifth on the PGA TOUR in Strokes Gained-Putting and took 29 putts in the opening round. So what did Phil do? He made a putter change. Mickelson did exactly the same thing at the Shell Houston Open, switching putters for one round. It was effective. He used 28 putts on Friday but will return to his familiar heel-shafted model on Saturday. Mickelson says he likes to occasionally use a putter with an aiming line on the back, which helps in alignment.

Edgy course: TOUR officials apparently wanted to challenge players in the second round. Nine of the holes were cut four paces from the edges of the green and two were just three paces off the edge. There were also four holes in which the flagstick was placed just three off the back edge of the green.

Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio and inside the ropes this week at THE PLAYERS Championship. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.

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