BETHESDA, Md. – At 6 foot, 230 pounds Brendon De Jonge is quick to admit he’s not exactly a gym rat, but when asked on Friday about his workmanlike pace this season he deadpanned: “When you're as fit as I am, it's easy.”
He has made it look easy for two days at Congressional, carding rounds of 68-69 to share the clubhouse lead with Jimmy Walker at the AT&T National. For de Jonge, who is playing his 20th event of the season and hasn’t missed a weekend since Bay Hill, it’s a matter of picking up where he left off last week.
De Jonge tied for eighth at the Travelers Championship thanks to one of his best putting weeks of the year and has been just as prolific on Congressional’s surfaces, one-putting his first five greens on Friday and five of his last six.
“I've seen a few more putts go in, which is obviously nice, and breeds a little bit of confidence,” said de Jonge, who needed 24 putts on Day 2. “I've always been like that. I've kind of been a streaky putter, and hopefully it's a long streak.”
It’s the time between those good putting rounds that has been difficult for de Jonge, times when he almost always turns to World Golf Hall of Famer and fellow Zimbabwe native Nick Price.
De Jonge met Price when he was 12 years old and over the years he’s become a mentor to the fifth-year Tour player.
“It’s nice to be able to pick up the phone and call someone who is that accomplished,” said de Jonge, who added that he and Price talk once a week. “He’s so straight forward; he will give me a kick in the butt when I need that.”
When de Jonge struggled on Sunday at last year’s Transitions Championship to a 75 and finished tied for fifth, “(Price) was the first person I called.”
“He told me as long as you learn from the experience you will get better and one might fall into your lap the next time,” de Jonge said.