Blixt hoping to reverse his weekend trend
May 24, 2019
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
Jonas Blixt holes out for eagle at Charles Schwab
FORT WORTH, Texas – For the fifth time this season, Jonas Blixt will start the weekend of a PGA TOUR event inside the top 10 on the leaderboard. That’s a positive sign, considering that Blixt had been in that position just five times in regular stroke-play events the previous four seasons combined.
But the bad news is that he’s been unable to capitalize on this season’s opportunities. Each of the previous four times, he’s taken the top-10 spot and played his way out of that position. It’s one reason why he’s yet to produce a top-10 result in his first 18 starts.
Will the fifth time be different? Blixt certainly looked comfortable through the first 36 holes of the Charles Schwab Challenge, shooting a bogey-free 6-under 64 on Friday that leaves him at 9 under, giving him the clubhouse lead with the afternoon wave yet to finish. The highlight was an eagle from 132 yards at the par-4 17th, as he holed out with a pitching wedge.
If he’s still leading at the end of the day, it would be the first time in his career (185 starts) that he’s been the solo leader. The only outright 36-hole lead he’s had on TOUR came at the 2017 Zurich Classic of New Orleans team event with partner Cameron Smith; the duo went on to win that week, the last of Blixt’s three TOUR victories.
Before Blixt can think about winning on Sunday, he must make sure he doesn’t play his way out of the tournament on moving day. His third-round scoring average this season doesn’t inspire much confidence – he ranks 160th on TOUR with a 71.18 average – but he’s determined to reverse that trend Saturday at Colonial.
“I think I’ve played pretty good this year,” Blixt said. “Obviously not had the good finishes yet, but it’s been up there a bunch of times. If you slow down a little bit … people are going to pass you. That’s pretty much what I’ve been looking for – a good weekend.”
Not including the Zurich team event, Blixt’s last top-10 finish was a solo third at the 2016 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Soon after, he started having back pains, with herniated discs causing nerve irritation. He took cortisone shots without much relief, then went on a lengthy rehab program in order to save his career.
“I think a lot of guys have back pains on this TOUR,” shrugged Blixt. “We hide it pretty well.”
During that same span, he started working on adding a draw to his repertoire, feeling that “a lot of golf courses coming down the stretch are kind of draw-biased sometimes.”
“I hit probably 50 percent good and 50 percent bad with it,” Blixt said, “so it didn’t really work out.”
So he gave it up. As he said, “Sometimes you just got to be you.”
Hopefully for Blixt, he’ll be a little different this weekend at Colonial than he has in previous weekends. The opportunity is there once again for the 35-year-old.
Now he’d needs to take advantage of it.
“Feel like I’ve been trending for awhile,” he said. “Just need to have a good weekend.”