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2013 WELLS FARGO CHAMPIONSHIP | Quail Hollow Club

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Playoff loss behind him, D.A. Points scores in the present

D.A. Points said he doesn’t think about last year’s playoff at Quail Hollow Club very often.

He was a par on the 18th away from winning the second match of his career when a bogey left the door open for Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy to join him in a one-hole playoff at the Wells Fargo Championship.

After two rounds at this year’s tournament, Points sits in a tie for 13th at 4-under after carding a 69 on Friday. And he has moved on from having to wrestle with what could have been last year.

“I played good. I didn’t putt very well but I played really good,” he said. “I couldn’t have done much else. It’s a hard hole to birdie and Rickie made two great shots and made birdie. Had it gone another hole who knows what would have happened.”

Both Points and McIlroy two-putted for par on the 18th in the playoff while Fowler stuck his approach within 4 feet on a shot that McIlroy said Thursday he was “afraid” to take.

It’s a distant memory to Points, a 36-year-old who stands seventh in the FedEx Cup Standings nearly midway through the 2013 season.

Points had a bogey-free second round on Friday with birdies at Nos. 1, 9 and 13. His short irons got Points in position to birdie the holes – two par-4s and a par-3 – and all of the putts were inside 6 feet.

He didn’t pick up any strokes on the par-5s, though. Points ranks 125th in driving distance on tour at 281.1 yards per drive, and the swirling winds have done little to help him off the tee.

“I’m wearing out my long clubs,” he said. “It’s real tough to have a lot of great birdie chances. I played really solid and didn’t make any stupid mistakes and made some good putts.

“(The par-5s) are all pretty long. I’ll have to do better on them, but if I don’t make any bogeys I’ll be all right.”

Points went 40 consecutive holes without a bogey last year at Quail Hollow, and he currently has a streak of 23 going. Much of the credit goes to his improved putting, which he tweaked in the past few months.

He called his play in early spring “terrible,” and through fellow Tour pro Chris Stroud, Points met with Lamar University golf coach Brian White to help him fix his putting stroke.

Points switched putters, going from a SeeMore wand to a three-decade-old Ping putter that once belonged to his mother. It led to a change in how he strikes the ball. He now descends on the ball to create a more consistent roll and better distance control.

In his first round at the Shell Houston Open in late March, Points had nine birdies, and he posted an 8-under 64 after making 169 feet in putts. He went on to win the tournament, the second of his career, by sinking a 13-footer on the final hole to win by a stroke.

“Really since then my confidence has been way up, my putting has been much, much better,” Points said, “and golf’s a lot easier when you make putts.”

On No. 18, Points’ approach with a hybrid left him with a 71-foot birdie putt from the front right of the green. As it broke left near the hole, Points thought he had his fourth birdie of the day, but it slid beneath the hole.

He tapped in the remaining 1-footer for par and walked to his bag with a smile on his face.

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