By Melanie Hauser, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
HUMBLE, Texas -- Mom's putter is back in the bag.
A little shinier, a little heavier and more balanced. A refurbished version of the old 1980s Ping Anser D.A. Points took out of his mother’s golf bag when he was, oh, 11 or 12.
It was just what Points needed to turn a streak of so-so putting into an opening 8-under-par 64 and the early first-round lead at the Shell Houston Open.
Points won some Illinois State Amateurs with it back in the day and used it when he turned pro. Won once with it.
Fast forward to the present when he asked the folks at Ping to spiff it up.
“They took it in and they kind of refurbished it and they put some tungsten weights in the toe and heel to give it some weight,’’ Points said. “It's just a really good-looking putter, and I brought it with me this week because I just had been putting so bad, I thought maybe I'll pull this old putter out of the garage and maybe it will have some magic in it. Sure enough, today it did.’’
More than enough magic to shoot 6-under on the front, add a couple more on the back and take a one-shot lead over Cameron Tringale.
And, no, Mom hasn’t asked for it back. Not yet, anyway.
“She might now,’’ Points said. “I've had it for a long time. I think she's been praying so badly for me to make some putts, she's probably happy for me to have it.’’
Ecstatic might be a better term.
It’s been a rocky start to the season. Points has made just two cuts in his first nine tournaments and he needed something to get him jump started. So, he went retro.
“It's funny, I was talking to my caddy about it today, like I have two gold-plated ones at home because in 2004, I was using that putter and I won twice on the Web.com Tour en route to finishing second on that money list, and it was probably my best year putting of my life,’’ Points said. “I think I finished in the Top-5 in putting on the Web.com.
“Maybe I'm an idiot for not having used this putter the whole time.”
After Tuesday’s Tavistock Cup finish, Points grabbed Mom’s putter and a few others and brought them along on the trip. He was tinkering with all of them, then Brian White, the golf coach at Lamar University saw the putter in Points’ hand and said that’s it. That’s the one.’’
Points started feeling good on the greens during Wednesday’s pro-am. He got the speed -- even in the wind -- and got the lines. And ... it carried over.
It also made up for a few blips in his swing. He has one patented bad move -- when he gets in a bad spot, he fades the ball and this Redstone Course calls for draws.
“A couple of those shots I kind of have to be real careful on, because you try to cut it and if you hit it straight, it goes in the water on 18, on 5, on 6.,’’ he said. “There's a couple tee shots that it would be better if you could turn it.’’
He made just two bad swings all day -- the tee shot on 18 and the tee shot on 5. “I just bailed out so much (on the fifth) that it went into the hazard,’’ he said. "I made a real good 5 and, shoot, that hole is super hard anyway. You can hit it in the middle of the fairway and have a tough time making pars.’’