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March 28 2013

8:52 PM

Thursday observations

D.A. Points leads the field in strokes gained-putting and made 169 feet, 4 inches of putts on Thursday.
(Halleran/Getty Images)

By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent

HUMBLE, Texas -- D. A. Points should give his mom a phone call tonight and say “thank you.” She played a role in D.A. shooting 8 under in the opening round of the Shell Houston Open.

When D.A. was 11, he took a Ping Anser putter out of his Mom’s golf bag and used it during his junior golf career. That putter was back in the lineup on Thursday and helped Points shoot a 64. He used just 23 putts in the round and ranks No. 1 in strokes gained-putting at 4.813. He made 169 feet, 4 inches worth of putts. Points had been very loyal to his SeeMore putter since 2004 but after making just two of nine cuts this year, he needed a switch. He also needed a golf lesson. Points got some instruction this week from Brian White and it all came together for him in the opening round.

Difficult: Redstone Golf Club played very difficult. The wind did not just blow, it swirled, making club selection very difficult. It also swept away any moisture from the greens. The putting surfaces were firm at the start of the week and became crusty as the round unfolded. The combination of swirling wind and firm greens had players frustrated.

Fast: If players caught the wind just right, they could ride the wind to tremendous distances. At the 592 yard, 15th hole, Keegan Bradley hit a 330-yard drive and reached the green from 262 yards out. He missed the 8-foot eagle putt but walked away with a very easy birdie en route to shooting a 70.

Overcast: Skies were dark for much of the morning, allowing the greens to retain just a little bit of moisture. The morning starters got the better end of the draw but there were birdies to be made in the afternoon. John Rollins shot a 65 with a 12:30 tee time. He peppered the greens, hitting 15 of 18. Rollins will have an early time on Friday and could do some damage on the fresh greens.

Sand man: Rory McIlroy came into the tournament ranked No. 1 in sand saves, getting up and down 77.78 percent of the time. He gave a demonstration on the seventh hole. His ball was short-sided, in the right-hand bunker and McIlroy accelerated through the shot, splashing it out to within a foot of the cup. The strike was so solid you could hear the thump of the sand as the ball came out with spin.

Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here

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