By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Scott Piercy learned his lesson last year when he won the RBC Canadian Open.
Just because he didn't get to use his driver as much as he normally likes on Thursday during the first round of the Memorial Tour, he wasn't going to call it "boring golf" again. Instead, Piercy said he was "much more disciplined" and it paid off with a 66 that left him one stroke off Charl Schwartzel's lead.
"I've hit a lot of drivers and kind of pounded down golf courses, and I haven't had much success here doing it," Pierce explained. "I thought I'd hit a lot of 3-woods today and open up the fairways and allow me to get some pins and knock them on the greens and make some putts.
"Maybe I'm getting older."
And wiser, too. Piercy, who has never finished better than 48th at Muirfield Village, only took his big stick out twice on Thursday.
More often than not, Piercy was using the 3-wood he cut down to 42 3/4 inches at the HP Byron Nelson Championship two weeks ago. He flattened it a little, too, so it plays to about 13 degrees.
"Funny, I cut it down and am hitting it so much farther," Piercy said. "... I can hit kind of a stinger ball out there that just goes."
Piercy ended up making eight birdies and dropping just two shots to par on a consistent day where he hit 10 fairways and 14 greens in regulation. Not bad for a guy who ranks 155th on TOUR in driving accuracy and 124th in greens in regulation this year.
Maintaining such self-discpline isn't easy for Piercy.
"I'll take 66 all the time, though," he said. "It's just learning how to play golf courses. I can hit it over almost all the corners here. But I have to hit a perfect golf shot and if I don't I'm not in a very good spot.
"With the wind blowing as hard as it has been, I think it dried the golf course out. I was hitting (the 3-wood) 290 to 310, depending on how hard it was going. So I was still hitting a short enough iron where I felt like I could still attack rather than hitting 3-wood, 5-iron or 3-wood, 6-iron. I still had 3-wood, 9-iron, 3-wood, 8-iron."
After adopting a similar approach at the Crowne Plaza Invitiational at Colonial, where he tied for 26th -- and with the U.S. Open looming large at a somewhat abbreviated Merion layout, maybe this attitude adjustment has come at just the right time.
"It seems like golf courses, when I succumb to it, I play well at those golf courses," Piercy said.
Thursday added more proof.