EXICO’S PLAYA DEL CARMEN – Aaron Wise desired a fresh start on the greens at the end of last season, and he was able to do so thanks to an old acquaintance.
Wise, who shot a 1-under 70 at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba on Friday, began using a long putter at last season’s Barr
acuda Championship and has continued to do so through the early part of 2021-22.
Casey Martin, his University of Oregon coach, owned the putter (an older TaylorMade Ghost model). Wise has had it since college, and he says he used it “a little bit” back then, but never on TOUR.
As the FedExCup playoffs approached, he said he was “putting terrible” near the end of last season and wanted to try something new.
“It was one of those things that I had tried before and had forgotten about,” Wise explained. “I figured it was worth a shot.”
Wise was 174th in Strokes Gained: Putting last season, but through three events this season, he has improved to 83rd in the same category. In his last two starts, he has finished in the top ten.
The 25-year-old started his week with an 8-under 63 at El Camaleón Mayakoba Golf Course, the same score he recorded to close out 2020 at Mayakoba, and only needed 23 putts on Thursday.
He only took 25 swings on Friday, but stated he struggled off the tee.
“I just didn’t hit it as good off the tee (as Thursday),” Wise said, “which hampered my iron shots.” “However, I felt like I chipped fantastically, and I putted great again to keep myself in the game.”
Wise is just five strokes behind Matthew Wolff for the 36-hole lead, and he’s hoping for a strong start to 2021-22.
And, he claims, his new putter has a lot to do with it.
“I had been putting badly for long enough that it had started to creep into my head, and this was just a fresh start.” With a giggle, Wise remarked, “I hadn’t missed any putts with it yet.” “I began on neutral ground, and from there, I began to gain confidence.”