CHARLOTTE — D.A. Points was one stroke off Kevin Kisner’s lead with three holes to play during Friday’s second round of the PGA Championship, a position nobody would have predicted to be the case just two days earlier. Including D.A. Points. And then golf intervened on "The Green Mile".
An errant tee shot on the 16th hole and a poor decision with his second shot resulted in a double-bogey 6. Between clubs on the par-3 17th, Points choice a soft 7-iron, only to pull it into the water and card another double. A par on 18 stopped the skid, but didn’t make things any easier as he had to sign for a two-over 73 that left him at one-over total and eventually seven back of Kisner
Instead of fuming, however, the 40-year-old three-time PGA Tour winner took it in stride. “I’m not happy about it, but it doesn’t do me any good to get mad about it now,” Points said.
He speaks the wisdom of a man who knows from true rock bottom in the game. For the last three seasons, Points hasn’t cracked the top 165 on the PGA Tour money list, his swing an unsolvable mystery.
His 2017 season will go down as a success thanks to his victory at the Puerto Rico Classic in March, but it’s also been a bit befuddling as he has had just one other T-20 finished (T-12 at Wells Fargo). In the last five starts, he’s missed four cuts and finished T-65 at the Quicken Loans.
“My golf swing isn’t right where I want it to be,” Points said. “I’ve kind of manufactured a lot of shots to get it where it needs to be. But I’ve chipped and putted really well. I haven’t been playing bad the last couple months. It’s not like I’m shooting 80 every day. I’m shooting even, one over or one under, and out here that doesn’t get you very far.”
But Points came to Quail Hollow with good memories. In 2012, he had what he his best ball-striking week he had for 72 holes in his entire career before missing a par putt on the last hole to win, then playing against Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy in a playoff eventually won by Fowler.
“Most people forget I was in it, too,” Points joked.
Having not played in a major since the 2015 U.S. Open, Points was determined to take a good attitude into the week, and it translated into an opening-round 68, his best score in his last 22 rounds.
If Points could have a mulligan on his Friday closing stumble, it would be his choice of clubs on the second shot on the 16th. With his ball settled down in the Bermuda rough, Points got overly aggressive with a hybrid when a wedge out was probably the right call. He didn’t catch the ball fully, and it wound up in the right right, 80 yards short of the green with no angle to the flag. Compounding this was a three-putt after being overly aggressive with a 25-footer to try to save par.
For as dark as the finish was, Points insisted on finding the bright side.
“I’m in the top 20 going into the weekend of my only major this year, and the only one in the last few years,” Points said.
“It's so far from the end of the deal,” Points said. “There’s a chance three or four under could still win this thing. I don’t think it will, but there’s a chance. Like I said, I’m in the Top 20 probably going into the weekend of my only major I've played year and the last few years, I’m happy with where I am.”