SAN DIEGO – For a player who has endured his share of putting issues, it turns out all Adam Scott needed was a flagstick to aim at.
For the third consecutive day, the Australian finished his round at the Farmers Insurance Open with positive strokes gained: putting. For the week, he has picked up 2.88 shots on the field with the putter. It’s a dramatic improvement for a player who ranked 165th in that category last season, losing 0.285 shots.
Scott’s improved performance on the greens is actually the byproduct of a new putting grip – a combination of the claw and the grip of the putter pressed against his left forearm – and the new rule that allows players to putt with the flagstick in the hole.
“I've done it for five rounds now and I like how I've been putting,” Scott said of his decision to leave the flagstick in the hole for most putts. “I haven't sat back and fully analyzed it yet, but just felt like when I heard the rule would be changed to that, that that would seem the obvious thing to do.”
Scott explained that by leaving the flagstick in the hole while putting it gives him another reference point and allows him to focus on the center of the cup. The result was a round-of-the-day, 7-under 65 on Torrey Pines' South Course that moved him into second place and three strokes behind Justin Rose.
Scott played his first two holes in 3 under, a run that included a 103-yard approach shot that bounced into the cup for eagle, and added four more front-nine birdies to turn at 6 under for the day.
“The start was incredible, and you don't want to get too far ahead of yourself after that, but you also want to take advantage of a start like that,” said Scott, who played his final nine holes in 1 under. “But again, it's back to reality on the back nine and a bit of a grind.”