By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
CARMEL, Ind. -- Graham DeLaet decided to make the best of a bad situation when he missed the cut last week at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
So he left New England on Sunday evening and headed for America's heartland. When the final round of the second FedExCup Playoffs event was being played at TPC Boston on Labor Day, DeLaet was playing a practice round at Crooked Stick.
"I was the only guy on the golf course, and it was kind of an eerie feeling," DeLaet said. "I think looking back on it, it kept me fresh going into this week because everyone else finished on Monday, it was a quite turnaround, Monday night flight, and right back into another week of golf here.
“I obviously would have liked to have made the cut last week, but I think it worked out a little bit in my benefit, as well."
In more ways that one, it seems. DeLaet fired a 64 on Thursday that left him tied for the lead at the BMW Championship with Rory McIlroy, who leads the FedExCup rankings, Indiana's Bo Van Pelt and reigning U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson.
DeLaet has responded to the pressure well -- and not just because he and fellow Canadian David Hearn are sporting their playoff beards. He was ranked No. 106 entering the Playoffs and moved to No. 44 when he tied for fifth at The Barclays on the strength of a closing 65.
Granted, the missed cut at the Deutsche Bank Championship was costly, dropping him 16 spots in the FedExCup standings. But he responded on Thursday and has three rounds to go to see if he can play his way to East Lake.
"Going into Sunday's round at Barclays, I was just hoping to play Boston, and I was able to put a nice round together there and it kind of catapulted me up," DeLaet said. "At that time I started thinking I've got a chance still to make the TOUR Championship."
DeLaet, who now makes his home in Boise, Idaho, where he went to college, has benefitted from a switch to a long putter in the past month or so. He bought the putter at the Wide World of Golf in his adopted hometown for about $150.
"The price tag's still on it," he said.
The putter was very cooperative on Thursday, making seven birdies and a 40-footer for eagle on the ninth hole, his last of the day. DeLaet used just 26 putts in the first round.
"I used (the long putter) in the past kind of off and on, so I don't feel completely helpless with it," DeLaet said. "I had won in college and on mini-tours so I knew it would hold up under pressure, and I needed a change more than anything. I just hadn't been making any putts. It's been good so far."