Friday , October 17, 2014

Perez Misses Cut At Summerlin, Finds Groove

It wasn’t the week Pat Perez envisioned when rolling into Las Vegas after missing the cut at the recent Open in Napa—but like a handful of the lucky ones, the PGA Tour veteran will leave Sin City up, having answered some questions that plagued him the second half of this season.

Working on a new swing the better part of 2014—thriving courtesy of a blazing-hot putter from through Hilton Head—Perez faltered the latter half of the year, overly-focused on numbers and technology, opposed to the feel and style that helped him secure a Tour card fourteen consecutive seasons. 

The eureka moment didn’t earn the veteran a spot in this weekend’s Shriners Open For Children at TPC Summerlin—but the noticeable swing changes were apparent and could yield results as early as the CIMB Classic in Malaysia late October. 

After an opening round 72 on Thursday at Summerlin, Perez spent all afternoon on the range returning to his roots—the result visibly apparent on Friday, despite missing the cut by two strokes after a second-round 70. 

Gone were the scattered shots that plagued Perez’s game the past six months. Instead, an afternoon fueled by 15 pars, two birdies and an ill-timed bogey on the day’s seventeenth hole—sending his tee shot to the left rough on the par-three eighth and facing a 28-foot par putt, before eventually knocking down a six-footer for four. 

The tournament-defining setback of the week—an errant tee shot on the par-four fifteenth Thursday, where Perez took a drop after a 287-yard drive to the desert left in him in the shrubs. He eventually punched-out of the rocks with his Arizona State-emblazoned (and since damaged) wedge, where a 35-footer would’ve been necessary to simply save par. 

The remaining thirty-five holes—five birdies, three bogeys, twenty-seven pars—as well as some brilliant saves and too many putts that simply didn’t fall, despite a solid stroke and optimum speed, hole-after-hole. 

Despite all that, Perez exuded confidence and displayed a bounce in his step that’s been absent for months. A few shots simply didn’t fall, in typical unforgiving golf-god fashion—but a wry smile gave off the impression that Perez is in the process of figuring it all out. 

The quiet confidence exuded on Friday could easily carry over to the CIMB as the week-in/week-out pressure of making a cut won’t hover—affording Perez the opportunity to play his game, trusting his instinct and going after pins with that devil-may-care attitude that has suited him his storied career. 

After Malaysia, Perez will trek to Playa del Carmen, Mexico for his final event of the fall stretch—the OHL Classic at Mayakoba. From there, a six-week run with a like-minded swing coach back home in Scottsdale, in effort to return to his roots before the annual January trek to Waialae for the Sony Open

Admittedly, the past two weeks didn’t deliver the desired result and weekend finish Perez was looking for—but somewhere in that rubble, the veteran exorcised some demons and seemingly found the answers he’s been in search of for months. 

AT 4:33 pm No Comments
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