How He Hit That: Ben Martin's cross-country eagle putt
Ben Martin was feeling the pressure.
A three-shot lead at the beginning of the final round of the Shriners Hospital for Children Open in Las Vegas had disappeared, and Martin was tied with Kevin Streelman as he walked to the 16th tee. At stake was a chance at his first PGA Tour victory -- and the freedom to play through this season and next without worrying about his status.
After reaching the green of the 560-yard par-5 in two, the 27-year-old Martin faced a 46-foot eagle putt with four feet of right-to-left break. He died it into the hole perfectly, giving himself the two-shot buffer over Kevin Streelman that he would carry through to the end.
"When you have a long putt like Ben's, you're usually playing from a spot on the green that is on a different plateau than the hole," says ESPN Swing Coach Jerome Andrews. "The better you understand how the two areas connect, the better your result is going to be. As you walk up to the green from the fairway, pay attention to the overall contours of the entire green complex to get a sense for the ebbs and flows.
When it's time to read and roll the putt, use your eyes and mind to trace the route the ball will take to the hole, says Andrews, who is based at the Spring Creek Golf Club in Charlottesville, Va. "In terms of setup, play the ball more forward in your stance to let the putter release and to promote solid contact. Lastly, relax your neck, arms and shoulders and trust your read. Ben looked like he was rolling a putt during a practice round -- not on the back nine on Sunday under huge pressure."