Jason Dufner's putter has let him down this season. (Pennington/Getty Images)
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
IRVING, Texas -- Jason Dufner was ready to make his move. The defending champion was putting for eagle on the seventh green from 68 feet away. Dufner had just birdied the sixth and an eagle would provide momentum for a great round. Just a two-putt birdie might lead to a string of red numbers. What happened? Dufner three-putted for par. Everyone knows he is not putting as well this year as he did in the past, ranked 153rd in strokes-gained putting after ranking 78th in 2012. However, there is a hidden stat within that number: Dufner is ranked 180th in three-putt avoidance. He has 32 three-putts this year including two this week. You simply can’t score on the PGA TOUR when you give strokes away on the greens with three-putts.
Sluggish: Keegan Bradley said he had a hard time "getting into the round." His concentration was not sharp and he said he felt sluggish the entire 18 holes. Perhaps it was the heat of the afternoon or perhaps it was the difficulty of the golf course. The greens were not as receptive as when Bradley played early Thursday morning and the wind came in swirling gusts. Golf is a game of momentum and TPC Four Seasons did not allow many players, with afternoon tee times, to get on any sort of run.
Preferred lies: It was a bit of a surprise that players were once again allowed to improve their lies. Most of the course had drained from the two-inch rains on Wednesday night but holes 11 and 14 were still soggy, so lift, clean and place was instituted throughout the golf course. It might also have been fairer to allow Friday's morning wave of players to have the same advantages as those golfers who went early on Thursday in the opening round.
Concentration: Tom Gillis walked off the ninth green with a smile on his face, even though he had just three-putted his 36th hole from 9 feet. Gillis had a putt to tie for the lead and gave it a little too much speed, lipping out on the left side. What followed was a lapse in concentration. Gillis was so focused on the birdie that he could not regain his mental edge and missed the 3-foot par putt. He may also have been tired. Gillis awoke at 3:40 a.m. and could not get back to sleep. A combination of nerves and adrenaline kept him awake, watching the clock tick away the minutes until it was time to leave for the course. To Gillis' credit, he was able to turn those nerves into a 63, despite a three-putt on his final hole.
Heat: It might have been the hottest day of the year on the PGA TOUR when you consider both temperature and humidity. The golf course was a sauna with a bright sun beating players into submission. Several golfers walked the tree line to seek out pockets of shade and everyone drank as much water as possible. The greens were watered following the second round so the putting surfaces will not be stressed this weekend.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.