England’s Ross Fisher and Scotland’s Alastair Forsyth led the seven qualifiers bound for Torrey Pines for next week’s US Open Championship after successfully negotiating their way through the qualifier at Walton Heath.
Phillip Archer and local Ross McGowan finish at six under par to book their place to San Diego next week. Quintic would like to wish the pair the best of luck in the season’s second Major Championship of 08.PGA European Tour Golfers, Philip Archer, Putting Biomechanics
Phillip Archer fears he will forever be remembered as the man who blew the chance of recording the European Tour’s first 59, but a few more rounds like the one which sent him three clear in the Abu Dhabi Championship yesterday and the Lancastrian might yet have a more positive epitaph.
Ten birdies and a solitary bogey were the vital figures in the 34-year-old’s 63, although he more than anyone appreciates that in golf it is all too often possible to be a victim of your own success. It was last June at the Wales Open where Archer missed a six-footer for immortality and since then he has not been allowed to forget it.
“A number in the crowd call me ‘Mr 60′ and others who hear my name say, ‘ouch 60, I watched that’,” revealed Archer. “Listen, I broke the course record there by two shots, came really close to the magical score, yet it’s as if I did something wrong. I’ve just tried to take the positives from it.”
Archer has succeeded, too, grasping enough inspiration from his brush with history to finish 41st on the Order of Merit, tripling his earnings on Tour in the process. He credits Dr Paul Hurrion, the putting guru who also boasts Padraig Harrington and David Howell in his patients’ book, with resurrecting a career which seemed doomed at the end of 2005 when he only kept his card by a matter of euros.
“The big thing he changed was my grip,” explained Archer. ” Both palms now face each other, so my thumbs are basically the same height and it levels up my shoulders.”
Newly-married Justin Rose was in fine form again yesterday on the second day of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in California.
Switching from Bermuda Dunes to the La Quinta course, the 26-year-old, who was married on 15 December, followed up his opening 67 with a seven-under par 65 and, on 12-under, was just a single stroke behind new leader Scott Verplank.
Rose had an early bogey, but sparked into life with an eagle on the long fifth and then birdied five of the next seven holes before finishing with another.
Londoner Brian Davis leapt into the top 20 with a closing 12-foot eagle putt for a 68 and seven-under aggregate.Philip Archer, Putting Biomechanics, Quintic Video Software
GORDON SIMPSON: Every time we meet Phil in an interview room, he’s shooting really low. Seems a long time since that 60 in Wales, very close to history, but I imagine this round wasn’t that far away from that same level of golf.
PHILLIP ARCHER: Yeah, the putt fell in on the first hole. I holed one from about 12, 15 foot in the first, went straight in the middle. When I was on the green yesterday, knew I was going to putt decent but today the confidence, I felt I could hole everything.
GORDON SIMPSON: It was interesting, Nick Dougherty was just saying, where have you been, that you have a solid golf game. Do you feel that way yourself and now it’s time to put yourself forward?
PHILLIP ARCHER: Yeah, I made some big changes after just keeping the card, especially with the putting stroke, moved 138 spots in the putting last year, so no surprise what the improvement was there. All around, really, things have been good, working with the coach for the last five years, that’s coming to fruition and also working on the mental side. I’m a lot better on the course.
GORDON SIMPSON: Who is your coach?
PHILLIP ARCHER: Mark Pearson in Redditch. So the kind of package I’m putting together, just as I did last year and that gives you the self-belief. That’s the biggest thing, prove it to yourself that you can do it. I think I’ve said it before, the big thing was just keeping the card in 2005 and then I felt I could really go on then.
Q. (On comparing this round to 2006 round in Wales).
PHILLIP ARCHER: It’s like the feeling I had. The start, I knew I was going to give myself chances. At the first I hit two really good shots and rolled the putts in, so then I knew don’t really have to go firing at pins. I can hole it at 15 foot. I holed a good couple of 30-footers, and once you do that, you get confident, so that kind of moved on throughout the game today.
Q. On shooting low rounds?
PHILLIP ARCHER: Well, again that’s something working with the mental side of it. That’s gone, I can’t do nothing about that now so move on to the next and try to make birdie on this one and take every chance as it comes and that’s what I’m getting better at. Okay, I had four, five holes left, and I was just looking for the next birdie. I made a couple of good pars on 10 and 11 after a couple of bad shots and then I knew I was going to get some birdies on the way in, no reason why I couldn’t knock them in.
Q. What worked, to help you move up 138 spots in the putting stats?
PHILLIP ARCHER: I went to see a guy called Dr Paul Hurrion at Quintic and they analyse all different sports, and he’s just on putting and he just got me more balanced over the ball. My weight was on my right side. These pressure putts, all cameras everywhere, he just got me in a better position to be able to just swing the shoulders and change the grip as well so the palms were just facing each other.
Q. How long have you been working with him?
PHILLIP ARCHER: I’ve been to see him about four times now. First time was straight after Mallorca in 2005 when I just kept my card because I wanted — I was looking at the aspects of the game and where I needed to improve and that was a big place.
GORDON SIMPSON: Is it quite a high-tech operation?
PHILLIP ARCHER: Yeah, it is, it all sounds high-tech but when he puts you there and tells you what to do, it’s really common sense. Same thing with the mental side. It’s just got me better in my weight distribution over the ball and with the putter and the ball positioning and being able to stroke the ball through.
Q. What is his name again?
PHILLIP ARCHER: Paul Hurrion.
Q. Where is he based?
PHILLIP ARCHER: Birmingham, he’s based close to Forest of Arden.
Q. Is he a private coach?
PHILLIP ARCHER: No, it’s a company. Padraig Harrington and David Howell have worked with him as well, Quintic Consultancy Ltd.
Q. Could you have shot any lower?
PHILLIP ARCHER: No, because I think I holed three 6-footers for par on the back nine. I was confident, they went straight in the middle and I holed a good couple of 30-footers so I don’t think I left much out there. I just played nice, solid golf.
I birdied the first about 15 feet, 9-iron.
8-iron to 12 feet.
6-iron to the fourth about 18 feet.
4-iron on the fifth to about four feet.
4-iron to the seventh to about six feet.
Bogey in the water on the ninth, knocked it up and made bogey.
12th hole, 7-iron to about eight feet.
8-iron on the 13th to about 30 feet.
Then again about 30 feet on the 16th with a 5-iron.
3-iron to 17 to about 12 feet.
And then it was a long, about a 50-foot bunker shot to about six-foot on the last.
Q. When is the last time you worked with Paul?
PHILLIP ARCHER: Just before I went to South Africa before Christmas, so the end of November.
Q. Do you see him regularly?
PHILLIP ARCHER: No, it’s just when — I just go for checkups. I don’t overdo with him. He gives me some real good things to work on, I just do the drills every week. If things don’t feel quite right, I’ll go back and have a look again. No, even if I’m putting well, I’ll go there and see if I’m doing it right.
Q. What sort of changes have you made with him?
PHILLIP ARCHER: Yeah, the big thing I think that changed around for me was the grip. He’s got me really gripping two palms facing each other just wrapping around, so thumbs are basically the same height on the putter, so it levels the shoulder straightaway. And I’m making putts with just the palms facing down, just straight down, so straightens the forearm.
Q. Do you get recognised for your 60 last year?
PHILLIP ARCHER: Quite a bit. Well, qualified for the U.S. Open, a lot of people called me ‘Mr. 60′ in the crowd. Meet a few people and when I went to South Africa, people say, oh, what’s your name; “oh, 60, I watched that.”
There’s also Peter Kay the comedian, went straight through the hair sort of thing because I thought I holed it and I didn’t. I was going to punch the air and I just caught it.
Q. On your reaction to shooting 60?
PHILLIP ARCHER: There was probably a reaction, I just broke the course record by two and I played great and I had a 6-footer for 59. It was as though I had done something wrong in the paper the next day, I couldn’t get my head around it. I just tried to take the positives out of it, I shot 60, I shot the lowest score ever, I came really close to a magical score, and the results of the rest of the year, I didn’t let it affect me.
GORDON SIMPSON: Well, if you shoot 59 here, you’ll have done something correct. Well played today.
Phillip Archer is not only a headline writer’s dream, he has also proved himself extremely adept at getting the golf ball into the hole in as few shots as possible.
Not many humans have come close to posting a score under 60, but the Englishman,who came within six feet of immortality at last year’s Celtic Manor Wales Open, was back in the groove at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, making birdies hand over fist to open up a three shot lead with a first round 63.
The 34 year old missed the bullseye in Wales, but his fifth place finish provided Archer with the inner self belief to go on and finish 41st on the Order of Merit last season and, at a stroke, tripling his career earnings on The European Tour.
Archer made ten birdies and one bogey in his nine under par round, which carried him three shots clear at the top of a high quality leaderboard containing fellow Englishman Nick Dougherty, Retief Goosen and a lucky-to-be-alive Henrik Stenson, who was involved in a collision with a lorry while driving to the golf course.
As birdie putt after birdie putt bolted into the hole, Archer was inwardly congratulating himself on the decision to improve that element of his game after managing to keep his card at a pinch at the end of 2005.
He booked a consultation with Dr Paul Hurrion at the latter’s “putting laboratory” near Birmingham, an establishment used by Padraig Harrington and David Howell among others, and last year improved 138 places on the putting statistics.
“It’s common sense what he tells you what to do” explained Archer, who is now one only 12 players on The European Tour to shoot 60. “It’s got me better in terms of my weight distribution over the ball and the big thing he changed was my grip. He’s got me gripping with both palms facing each other, so my thumbs are basically the same height and it levels up my shoulders.
“I saw Paul again just before Christmas. I just go for check-ups. I don’t over-do it. He gives me some really good things to work on and I do the drills every week.” he added.
Several months on, his brush with 59 still gets Archer recognised wherever he goes. He said: “When I qualified for the US Open last year a lot of people in the crowd called me “Mr 60”. When I went to South Africa I met a few people who would hear my name and say: ‘oh, 60, I watched that!’
“I broke the course record by two shots and played great and had a six footer for a 59. I came really close to the magical score yet in the papers the next day it was as if I had done something wrong. I couldn’t get my head round that. I just tried to take the positives from it and didn’t let it affect me.”
Stenson, second behind American Chris DiMarco last year, has enjoyed a chequered history with the Abu Dhabi Championship, having arrived in 2006 suffering from a back injury, picking up a virus on the first day, shooting a course record 62 on the Saturday and just missing out on the title on Sunday.
“I was feeling a bit sleepy in the morning but what happened woke me up” said Stenson, who was able to joke about his lucky escape. “I missed the road as I was driving to the course and had to take a detour. Not far from here, a lorry turned right across the traffic in front of me and I had to hit the brakes and just managed to avoid going into the side of it.
“I scratched my car and ended up in the sand off the road. I got here 45 minutes before my tee time instead of an hour and 45 minutes. The guy didn’t speak English but said sorry and I had to leave the scene without waiting for the police. I didn’t have many swings on the range so 66 was a good start after everything that happened.”
An eagle three at the 18th – his ninth hole – was the highlight of the day for Goosen, who spent two and a half months in his native South Africa before embarking on his 2007 campaign at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.
Goosen was not fully tuned up, bemoaning his erratic ball striking but praising his more than adequate putting. He said: “I was hitting it a bit sideways, but I putted really well. I had 21 putts and that will always help your score. I had a month without any golf, apart from the odd round, and the swing doesn’t feel settled, but hopefully the rust will fall away over the weekend.”
Dougherty, who played in Archer’s group and spent most of the time in his slipstream, compiled a pretty decent score of his own. He admitted: “I didn’t expect to be three shots behind one of my playing partners after that! But Phil played awesome golf. He’s a great guy with a really solid game. and you wonder where he’s been up until now. You watch him play and it’s top drawer stuff. He’s as good as any of the other guys.”
After a month in Orlando under the tutelage of David Leadbetter, Dougherty believes he is ready for a good year ahead by reverting to his old laid-back self on the golf course instead of getting too intense and self-analytical. He said: “I am going to try to stick to being more carefree and not beat myself up. It’s not that important.”PGA European Tour Golfers, Philip Archer, Putting Biomechanics
|Phillip Archer came agonisingly close to carding the first 59 in European Tour history as he took the lead after the opening round of the Wales Open.
The Englishman’s birdie putt on the 18th lipped out to leave him nine under par at Celtic Manor in Newport.
However, Archer broke the Roman Road course record, his 60 two better than the mark set by 2005 winner, Miguel Angel Jimenez, and Alessandro Tadini. Sweden’s Robert Karlsson is Archer’s closest challenger a shot behind on 61.
Colin Montgomerie and Frenchman Francois Delamontagne are two shots further back after going six under on the par-69, 6,743-yard Roman Road course. English pair Paul Broadhurst and Lee Slattery, plus Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey and Kiwi Stephen Scahill, are tied in fourth after rounds of 64.
Archer, enjoying the calm conditions and hazy sunshine, started quietly enough by making par with four shots on the first. It’s the best score for a long, long time
But the Warrington man then moved into overdrive, hitting seven birdies, spolit only by a bogey on the fourth, to go out in 29. Further birdies on the 11th, 15th and 16th left him needing one birdie over the last two holes for the European Tour record.
But Archer had to save par on the 17th after finding rough off the tee and then on the last watched his birdie putt agonisingly miss.
“It’s a bitter-sweet moment,” he admitted. “I played lovely all day and just wanted to give myself a chance on the last. “I thought I had it. It was left-edge, nice and firm, but it was just a bit too firm.”
Montgomerie’s six-under 63 ended the worst run of his career in emphatic fashion. The Scotsman, who had missed the cut in seven of his last 10 tournaments, said: “It’s the best score for a long, long time and gives me a lot of encouragement.
“It’s been a poor run of form by anyone’s standards. “I started to accelerate through the putter again, trying to get back to the way I putted at the Open last year, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the week now.”
Ireland’s Paul McGinley, back in action just two weeks after an operation to remove a piece of floating bone from his knee, had to settle for a 69 after a double bogey five on his penultimate hole.
“My knee feels very strong, today was fine,” said the Dubliner, currently seventh in the Ryder Cup standings. “I hit 15 greens in regulation but shot level par which is always frustrating. I hit one bad shot on the eighth (which ended behind a bush) and paid a big price.”
Stephen Dodd and David Park were the highest-placed home golfers, the Welshmen both carding 66 to stay in a 15-strong group tied for 13th.
US Open champion Michael Campbell had a terrible day with a six over 75, which included a solitary birdie on the 18th.