PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — In its own inimitable fashion, golf found a way to remind Danny King that he isn’t infallible, no matter how hard he works on his game.
The two-time champion of the Titleist and FootJoy Canadian PGA Club Professional Championship has been working with renowned Canadian Sean Foley, who coaches Canadian Stephen Ames among other PGA Tour players, to limit the damage done by his miscues.
“It eliminates a lot of face rotation, so your misses are better because of it,” said King of the swing changes he has been working on with Foley.
While the changes have been paying off over the last year or so, a blooper still manages to appear from time to time. That’s precisely what happened on the 10th hole at the PGA Golf Club’s Wanamaker course on Monday.
King looked to be taking charge of this year’s Titleist and FootJoy Canadian PGA Club Professional Championship after he birdied the first and ninth holes and eagled seven.
At four-under heading on to the back nine, a wedge shot of just over 100 yards got away from him for a big, fat triple bogey.
“I hit it in the left rough. I guess there was mud on it or something on it and it just went left. Hence, the number,” said King. “I don’t know what that was – that was a real head-scratcher.”
King was able to regroup and birdied the 13th, 16th and 18th holes, with a bogey on 17, to record a three-under 69 and he’s tied for second going into today’s second round.
After shooting a 65 in Sunday’s practice round, King had to be the favourite once play started for keeps, if he wasn’t already, but the morning groups faced cool, blustery conditions and a course that was relatively new to Canadians more used to playing the nearby Ryder course.
“There’s a lot of slopes to these greens. If you’ve got anything sidehill or downhill, they’re tricky, really tricky,” said King.
“It’s demanding. The green sites are a little more demanding than last year, so you’ve got to hit some good, quality shots. I think the other course is not as demanding. This one’s a little more demanding off the tee and there’s the green sites again,” he added.
As King progresses in this tournament, he will be trying to avoid the fate he met in the first round of PGA Tour qualifying school, where he shot 71-73-71-78 to tie for 47th at St. Johns Golf and Country Club, just up I-95 from here in St. Augustine.
“Q-School was a funny animal. I played really well the first three days and didn’t get a lot out of the round. The last day was 50 mile an hour winds and rain. Everyone has a story, but it was not ideal conditions,” said King, who plans to play more tournament golf in 2009 than he ever did.
He estimates that, in a good year to this point, he plays in just 15 tournaments, but says he has his family’s support to play the Gateway Tour and try to Monday qualify for Nationwide Tour events in the hope of one day getting past the second stage, which he has made on three occasions.
“I was excited this year,” he said. “I thought, this year, for sure, it was the year I’d be going through to the final stage,” said King, who says he isn’t bitter about not making it this year.
“I was excited to know that there’s a lot of good thing going on, things that are going to be happening in the next few years.
For now, though, he will deal of what happened in Q-school this year. “You’re only as good as your last round, right?” he said.
His last round at Q-school may not have him advancing, but his last round here has him in contention for his third national championship, so there are some good things in the immediate future as well.