Friday, July 14, 2017

Charles Howell III co-leads John Deere

Classic after sizzling 63 in Round 1

Charles Howell III shot a 8-under 63 on Thursday to open the John Deere Classic. He's tied with Ollie Schniederjans, and those two lead a host of players, including Patrick Rodgers and Zach Johnson by two strokes. 
Howell went out in 31, came home in 32 and was bogey-free on the day. His short game was immaculate as he finished top five in both strokes gained putting and strokes gained around the green. 
"If I'm going to be competitive and compete in the upcoming years, I've got to be a lot better with my short irons and short game scoring stuff," Howell said.
"That part has been better. I've sort changed my mentality a bit, changed my practice a bit, and trying to focus on those areas a lot more than, let's say, I did earlier in my career."

Howell has been lights out since returning from a rib injury at that Quicken Loans. Following his play-off loss there to Kyle Stanley, he finished T45 at the Greenbrier Classic and added this opening 63.
His putter has been especially hot as he's gained approximately a stroke on the field with his flat stick in each round since returning from that injury. He attributed that partially on Thursday to the pure greens at TPC Deere Run, which is the easiest scoring course on the PGA Tour. 
"I mean, the last X amount of John Deeres I can remember, this is the best I've ever seen the greens," Howell said.
"The speeds are back up on 'em. Granted, this morning without traffic they were rolling like carpet. This morning was absolutely the best scoring we'll see all week, which would also lead me to believe that tomorrow morning you're going to see some low scores as well.
"This is a tournament that's obviously very special to me," added Howell. "First year here was 2000, and I was able to finish third that year to kind of get my career kickstarted or going ... it's one of our favourite events of the year. I missed it last year with a neck surgery, but, I mean, we're excited to be back here this year."
In some ways it seems like Howell has been rejuvenated by the fact that he had to sit out following his injury. He has talked on multiple occasions about how much he missed playing and how it was nice to come into tournaments fresh. And at the age of 38, he's proving he's as good now as he's ever been in his career.
"Watching guys compete, watching the coverage on TV, missing events, it drove me nuts," Howell said. "Not nuts in the way of, 'Man, I could be doing this or whatever.' Just missing playing golf.
"I realised pretty quickly how thankful I was to be able to play golf for a living. I realized quickly that I am a golfer and that my competitors out here are my friends and it's just what I know. This is what I do.
"I think I became more thankful for the opportunity to play golf out here. I think I realized how special it is and how fortunate we all are to do this. I just missed playing the game and I just missed competing out here more than anything.
"I think that probably fed a little bit to some better play at Quicken Loans, and even today in the sense of where I appreciate being out here maybe more than I had before."
Howell is top 35 in the FedEx Cup, has secured his bid into the Open Championship and US PGA Championship and is rising in the Official World Golf Rankings. All that's left now is for him to get his first win since 2007. Three more rounds like he had on Thursday, and that will be all but locked up.





Post a Comment

<< Home

Copyright © Colin Farquharson

If you can't find what you are looking for.... please check the Archive List or search this site with Google