Matthew Wolff came within an inch of four eagles in six holes at the Shriners
LAS VEGAS - Matthew Wolff was frustrated when his turn came in the third round of the Shiners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin.
He made good swings and hit good putts, but nothing really happened. Sure, he shot 2 under on the front, but on this desert course where there was almost no wind Wolff knew he was falling behind the front runner.
Then he struck a wedge at 10 to 9 feet and so Wolff began devouring TPC Summerlin and setting fire to the scoreboard.
He made the birdie putt at 10, took a 62-degree lob wedge from 118 yards for Eagle at 11, hit an eagle putt from 18 feet to 13, and drove the green at 301-yard 15 and made a 15-footer for eagles.
Far from being done, he dropped his eagle putt at 16 on his lip and tapped birdie. That was an 8-hole course under which Wolff was 9 years old.
After leaving birdie putts on the last two holes on the edge, Wolff left the burned course with a scorecard that had a career low of 10 under par 61, including 8 under 28 on the back nine.
When 21-year-old Wolff finished his lap, he was leading by two under 18 after starting the day six shots ahead.
“You have so many options for birdies when you hit the ball in the fairway. It does not take long. The pens were in pretty convenient places. I just told myself to give myself as many looks as possible and the putts would fall, ”said Wolff, who is aiming for his second PGA Tour title. “The wedge shot at 10 was really the turning point. That really felt like it was a slightly different swing, but different in a good way. I marked it on 10 and then on 11. And from then on I felt like I didn't hit outside of 15 feet the rest of the way.
"So I was really happy with the trend of my game and the things I was working on and I moved myself to a good place."
Wolff, ranked 18th in the world and ranked 33rd in the Golfweek / Sagarin ranking, fell one shot back to defeat J.J. Henry (2013) and Rod Pampling (2016).
Wolff almost gotten to Scott McCarron and Willie Wood as the only players to have made four Eagles in a round since 1983. McCarron did this in 1995 at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic from Wood, Wood in 1990 at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
"It was amazing," said game partner Matthew NeSmith, who shot 64. "He got off to a slow start. It doesn't really seem to get anything through eight holes. Then he screwed 9, screwed 10, made it to 11 and it was like gangbusters. He just played really, really phenomenal."
Especially on the back nine.
"I felt like my swing was spinning a little better," said Wolff on the back nine, jumping in from 70 feet on the third and a 6-foot birdie on the ninth before moving on the back Nine exploded. “That was exactly what I needed to do my shots a little more online and to feel a lot more comfortable with each shot. They never expect you to run away, but when it does happen you just get put into a really good mindset.
"Those three eagles somehow drove me up."
His performance here in Las Vegas is proof that three weeks ago there was no hangover at the US Open where he was paired with Bryson DeChambeau in the final group. Wolff couldn't keep up with DeChambeau and finished second, six strokes behind.
"Maybe 10 minutes after graduating was a little brutal, but I felt that honestly this was more of a learning experience and gave me more confidence," said Wolff. “There were a lot of putts that I had out there today and even to do the cut (Friday) where everything just seemed a bit easier due to the stage I was on at the US Open. Nothing gets bigger than that.
"I definitely feel a lot calmer when I play events like this because I know it's not a big major."
But you can do important things just like Wolff.
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