Is Matthew Wolff back?
“I don’t want to say that,” he said Thursday.
But there’s mounting evidence to suggest that, if he’s not already there, he’s certainly getting close.
With a 10-birdie 61 in the opening round of the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba, Wolff continued a red-hot start to the new season and claimed his spot atop the leaderboard in Mexico.
In nine Tour rounds this fall, Wolff is now 46 under par. That includes a solo second in his last appearance four weeks ago at the CJ Cup, where he held the 54-hole lead.
Since then, Wolff has been at home resting and trying to engrain some new setup feels with swing coach George Gankas. He’s been working on bending his knees more at address.
“Just making sure I’m comfortable in my setup,” Wolff said. “To me, I feel like when I am comfortable, that’s when I make the best swings. Everything kind of clicked today.”
One of the longest hitters on Tour, Wolff has been reined in by El Camaleon’s close confines. In the opening round, he pulled driver only once, on the par-5 13th, but he still ranked second in driving distance. Out in 30, home in 31, his opening round tied a career-low. His caddie, Nick Heinen, told him after the round: “You know, I’ve been caddying for you for quite a few rounds, and that was not the one that I thought was going to be the lowest.”
It’s been a trying year for Wolff, the hotshot 22-year-old who has been open about some of his mental-health struggles and even took two months off in the spring to clear his mind. He contended through three rounds at the U.S. Open but was otherwise a non-factor for much of the season.
Wolff said he’s in a much better headspace now and starting to see the results of his improved attitude.
“I’m really confident in my game right now, and I’ve proven over time when stuff goes well and I am confident, I can kind of carry it over,” he said. “So right now, my swing feels really good, my head’s in a good spot, and I’m just happy to be out here regardless of the result. I’m just happy. I’m blessed to be out here. It’s not easy, and there’s a lot of ups and downs, but you’ve just got to go with it, and that’s something I’m learning as I’m getting older and being out here longer.”