Valspar Championship 2019: The hot putter that nearly won Jason Kokrak his first PGA Tour event
At the Valspar Championship, Jason Kokrak was mostly lethal on the greens using a putter with a skull-and-crossbones insignia engraved in the rear cavity, while Austin Cook had a new Ping putter straight out of the putting lab. Curtis Luck tried to get his game on track by making a driver switch, and a new set of irons served Rory Sabbatini well.
Jason Kokrak is still looking for his first PGA Tour win but he came very close at the Valspar Championship, finishing T-2, one shot behind Paul Casey. A big part of the reason for Kokrak’s high finish—his fourth career runner-up finish—was his work on the greens, as he picked up more than five-and-a-half shots on the field in strokes gained/putting. Kokrak uses a Bettinardi DASS (which stands for Double Aged Stainless Steel) BB8 Triplane model with a single black sightline on the flange, and the skull-and-crossbones look engraved in the cavity.
Austin Cook said he “needed a different look,” so naturally he opted for a new putter that’s a little bit out of the box, using a Ping PLD PrimeTyne. PLD stands for Putting Lab Design, and Cook’s new flat stick featured a double-bend shaft that works for a straight stroke type. The putter is 33 inches in length with 2 degrees of loft and a lie angle that is 2 degrees upright. Cook ranked 11th in strokes gained/putting at the Valspar Championship, picking up more than four shots on the field on the greens en route to finishing T-9.
Curtis Luck has struggled during his PGA Tour career. After winning the 2016 U.S. Amateur, Luck has found little success on the big tour. This season he has missed six cuts and finished no better than T-25, prompting a driver change at the Valspar to Callaway’s new low-spin Epic Flash Sub Zero driver. Luck used the 10.5-degree club (he also added the Epic Flash 3-wood) in the neutral setting at Innisbrook’s Copperhead course, well enough to rank 26th in strokes gained/off the tee, helping him to a T-13 finish, his best showing since the 2017 Quicken Loans National.
A new set of TaylorMade irons went in the bag for Rory Sabbatini at the Valspar, and he responded with his best finish of 2018-19 with a T-18. Sabbatini used the company’s P790 for his 4-iron, then the new P760 irons for the rest of his iron set. The P760 irons use the company’s lightweight, flexible foam filler through the 7-iron to help promote ball speed before switching to single-piece forged short irons. Sabbatini used True Temper’s Elevate shaft in the irons, a mid-weight iron shaft designed to improve initial launch and spin to provide more stopping power on approach shots.
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