Despite slip, DeLaet making progress
(October 31, 2016) – – He held the lead through 63 holes and equaled his best performance in a PGA Tour event since last March, but Graham DeLaet’s play at the Sanderson Farms Championship will likely be remembered for one shot.
It was the re-appearance of the dreaded yips, the embarrassing problem that plagued him last year, forcing him to take a sabbatical from the tour and to begin working with a mental coach. The Weyburn, Sask., product had been hoping the issue was behind him but it reared its ugly head again in the final round.
Playing the par-5 11th hole and leading the tournament by a shot, DeLaet hit his second into the water to the right of the green. After taking a penalty, he then dropped on a bank, setting up his fourth and a chance to save par and maintain the lead. Instead, he hit his ball at an almost 90-degree angle from its intended target, a dreaded shank.
The Canadian ended up with a double bogey and then added a bogey on the following hole to fall from the lead. He eventually finished eighth, earning $121,800.
After his round, rather than focus on the one discomfiting shot, DeLaet tweeted out the big-picture positives of the week.
He was right to do that, of course. There’s a lot to like about how DeLaet played at the Jackson, Miss., tournament. For the first three and a half rounds, he led the field in putting – a part of his game that has usually been his weakest. His ball-striking was also spot-on, finishing tied for sixth in both the Driving Accuracy and Greens in Regulation statistics.
Overall, he’s on the right path, if he can continue, there’s every reason to believe this will be a solid season for him. As he showed last week, he has the game to win on the PGA Tour.
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