Loyalty to one club helps Van Pelt improve

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BETHESDA, Md. – Bo Van Pelt leads the pack by a shot at the AT&T National, shooting 4-under 67 on a Congressional CC Blue Course that is playing more how it should have last June for the U.S. Open. A year wait made the difference.

'I said it last year, they needed one more year, and basically you could have a U.S. Open here this week if you wanted it,' Van Pelt said Thursday. 'That's the way it's set up.'

In the year that has passed, Van Pelt has improved most in his putting because he remained faithful to a mallet-style putter.

'I've stuck with one putter since last year in the fall, and it's probably the longest stretch I've done that since I was a kid because I only had one back then,' he said. 'It wasn't an option to have another one.'

Van Pelt has five top-10 finishes this year, but a round or two has gotten away from him in each of those weeks. He will have to keep focus for all four days to win a tournament – particularly on a course like this one. 

'I think you just have to understand that it does take a lot out of you when you're playing really well and especially when you're playing a really tough golf course,' he said. 'Your focus has to be right on. You can't let your mind wander and give shots away because this golf course will eat you up.'