His putting was miserable, he was missing cuts and every round was turning into a struggle.
Kris Blanks knew he was better than that so he made a change, focusing on the part of his game that was causing the most grief. He had to do something about his putting.
“I always equate a golfer to NASCAR. We’re always making tweaks,” Blanks said. “I just needed to do something to change it up and that’s what we did.”
Sometimes the tweaks don’t work. This time, they did.
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Blanks birdied his final five holes Thursday to finish with an 8-under-par 63 and grab the first-round lead at the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill.
Blanks, who played the back nine first, rolled in a 25-foot putt on No. 5 to start his late run and capped it with an 11-footer to leave him alone at the top after Canadian rookie Matt McQuillan and veteran Davis Love III had held that spot much of the day with 64s.
EUROPEAN PGA -- Lee Westwood and tour newcomer Mark Tullo of Chile shot 7-under 65s to share the lead after the first round of the Scottish Open in Inverness, Scotland.
Westwood made six birdies and an eagle in the warmup event before next week’s British Open. A bogey at the 16th hole was his only setback.
With a win at the new links course at Castle Stuart, the second-ranked Westwood would regain the No. 1 ranking held by fellow Englishman Luke Donald.
Tullo, ranked No. 232 and in his first season on the European Tour, birdied his first four holes and then five of the back nine to join Westwood atop the leaderboard.
George Coetzee of South Africa, Peter Hanson of Sweden and Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark are three strokes behind the leaders.