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July 12 2013

8:27 PM

Friday observations

Kevin Streelman's new putter is paying off at the John Deere Classic. (Cohen/Getty Images)

By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent

SILVIS, Ill. -- It is such a fine line. Players want to get better but don’t want to lose what they have working. Patrick Reed walked that line this week. He’s been playing well but wanted a little more distance from his driver and a little more performance out of his wedges. So Reed made some changes this week. He put in a Callaway Optiforce driver and switched to some chrome-finished wedges. The result? Reed averaged 322.4 yards per drive on Friday and holed out from 37 yards on the 17th hole with his new 61-degree wedge.

One thing that did not need changing was Reed’s putter. He made 110 feet of putts in the second round after making 122 feet on Thursday. That’s a remarkable 232 combined feet for 36 holes. No wonder he shares the lead at 12 under.

Observations

Streak: Zach Johnson has some wonderful numbers working this week. He has yet to make a bogey in the tournament and he has two rounds in the 60s. In fact, Johnson has recorded 18 straight rounds in which he has broken 70 at the John Deere Classic. Johnson shot 71 in the final round of the 2008 tournament and has broken 70 in 18 straight rounds since then.

Johnson’s short game is very sharp this week. He is 4-for-4 in bunker saves and his chipping has been crisp. It’s those one-putt pars that have enabled Johnson to cobble together rounds of 64-66.

Spike mark: Steve Stricker was thinking birdie on the 18th hole to get within one of the lead. Instead he made bogey, missing a putt from inside of three feet. Stricker was visibly upset with the miss but did still conducted post-round interviews. It appeared Stricker’s putt hit a pitch or spike mark that caused it to veer off line. Stricker still has 36 holes to make up for the miss.

Practice: Kevin Streelman is having the best season of his PGA TOUR career and yet he missed four straight cuts. So he took some time off to work on his game, then stopped in Chicago to work on his putting with Kevin Weeks. He felt good about his game as he left Weeks’ studio but wanted a different putter. So, Streelman plucked a Scotty Cameron Newport II off the wall as he left. Maybe he should consider paying for the putter. Streelman is T17 in total putting this week. He has hit 25 of 28 fairways and 31 of 36 greens. Ballstriking and putting has Streelman 10 under.

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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