August 31 2012
Jeff Overton interview
Jeff Overton's early 64 matched Tiger Woods for the best morning round at TPC Boston.
NORTON, Mass. -- To say Jeff Overton was frustrated might have been an understatement. In fact, he had seen three different putting gurus in the last five weeks.
Thursday's late afternoon session with James Sieckmann paid off handsomely, though, as Overton reeled off five straight birdies on the way to a 64 that left him tied for the lead at the Deutsche Bank Championship with none other than Tiger Woods.
Overton, who used just 26 putts in the first round, said he and Sieckmann concentrated on his alignment.
"I think it's key if you can get lined up and find your mark, and I opened my stance up a little bit," he said. "Who knows, hopefully it's fixed and I can come back out tomorrow and do the same. It was finally good to see a few go in and just make the putts inside 10 feet really."
Overton two-putted the second hole from 15 feet for his first birdie, added a 2-footer at No. 9 and then compensated for his lone bogey at No. 10 by draining putts of 5, 6, 19, 7 and 23 feet to get to 6 under. The final birdie at the 18th hole was a tap-in from 6 inches, courtesy of "one of the best chips I ever hit in my life," he said.
Sieckmann also helped Overton to an attitude adjustment of sorts when he told him to remember how good he is every time he picked a ball out of the cup. To build on that advice, Overton spent Thursday night concentrating on the round he wanted to have on Friday.
A week ago, he missed the cut at The Barclays, which was played on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park, the site of two U.S. Opens. Overton felt he played well overall but got caught up mentally in the difficulty of the course and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts.
"And you're like, a couple over ... is probably going to be all right, but hopefully you don't shoot that,” Overton explained. “So I felt like I almost programmed my mind to shoot that.
"So … I was like, let's just get ourselves where we feel comfortable where we know we can shoot something under par (at TPC Boston). I went down the line of holes and played them out in my brain, which is something that you should always do and maybe something that I haven't done as much recently as I need to."
Overton has a lot at stake this week. He came to TPC Boston ranked 83rd in the FedExCup but only the top 70 will advance to the BMW Championship, which is being played this year at Crooked Stick in Overton's home state of Indiana.
The last time a PGA TOUR event was held in Indiana was in 1991 when John Daly won the PGA on the same course -- and Overton was 8.
"It's a big motivation," the Indiana grad said. "... I've played Crooked Stick a bunch, and in college we played it, and every year I seem like I always pop up there a few times a year because it's an awesome place, spent a little time there the last couple months, and I'm constantly getting a lot of great text messages and people say, hey, we're really excited to see you at Crooked Stick, just the whole Hoosier nation.
"It's just going to be fun if I can get into the event. ... It would just mean a whole lot if I could get into that tournament."