September 13, 2014
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
- Gary Woodland's putter got hot in the third round of the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
ATLANTA -- The stiffling heat and humidity took their toll on Gary Woodland during the first two rounds of the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
On Saturday, though, Woodland was the one who got hot at East Lake -- firing a 63 that was the low round of the tournament to get back into red numbers at 1 under through 54 holes. He made five birdies on the front nine to turn in 30 and then holed a bunker shot at the 15th hole for an eagle on the par 5.
"Today was a little more like it," Woodland said. "I struggled the first two days. I really think the heat got to me. I was dehydrated. Yesterday I really struggled, had no energy. ... I drank water all night, just trying to get fluids back in my body.
"Today I felt great, and I came out and I made some putts, too, which I noticed is something I haven't done in a while. I definitely got putts to go in."
Aiding Woodland in that pursuit was a new putter with a bigger Super Stroke grip on it.
"It's been on a backup putter, and I've had it on there for a while," Woodland said. "I've used it once before, used it ... the last two days of Akron, putted it really well, and just kind of got away from it, went back to the one I've been using.
"I felt like it was time to change, and it's worked out pretty good."
Woodland, who played basketball in college, has big hands, and he feels the bigger grip allows him to release the putter head easier.
"I feel like I can hit putts harder," Woodland said. "I feel like that's one of my biggest mistakes. I leave a lot of putts short. I hit the bottom edge a lot and this putter allows me to hit the ball a little harder and putts will go in."
The round of 7 under was Woodland's lowest in 11 trips around East Lake -- by three strokes. In fact, he has only broken par here four times.
"This golf course has kind of had my number," Woodland said. "... For me to come out and finally make putts and get a low number definitely gives me a lot of confidence. It would especially be nice to play well tomorrow, too, and finish on a high note."