From just behind the green, Matthew Wolff knocked his third shot on the par-5 17th hole at Detroit Golf Club to within 11 feet. He rolled in the putt for birdie.
It was the longest putt he had over about an hour and a half on Friday.
Wolff had birdie putts, in order, of 4, 3, 3, 11, 8 and 6 feet over a six-hole stretch during the second round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic, all of which he made on his way to an 8-under 64. All six putts combined stretched to about 35 feet. He had a 35-footer for a sextuple birdie, if you will.
The first birdie, which came on the 14th hole after Wolff started his round on the back nine, begat another, which begat another, which begat another, which begat another, which begat another, Wolff said.
“I think the biggest thing is, I got off to such a good start, and six birdies, you know, from 14 to 1. I just felt like, you know, I wasn’t really worrying about the cut at that point – I was worrying about putting myself in the best spot and keep on making more birdies,” Wolff said. “When you’re feeling that good, you’re not really worried about missing shots, you’re just kind of taking dead aim. It was nice to not be around the cut this time and to put myself into a good spot going into the weekend because as I’ve learned the last couple weeks, you definitely can’t win on the first two days, but you can sure as heck lose.”
Wolff’s putter took the final stroke over his six-hole stretch. But his irons made the best strokes.
On the par-5 14th, he hit to within about 4 feet from the sand on his third shot. On the 159-yard, par-3 15th, he hit his tee shot to within about 3 feet. On the par-4 16th, he hit his approach to within about 3 feet. On the 17th, he had the 11-footer. On the par-4 18th, he hit his approach to within about 8 feet. On the par-4 1st, he hit his approach within 6 feet.
Those irons, too, were added to Wolff’s bag just on Monday. He changed shafts and lofts.
“I think the biggest part was just my irons,” Wolff said. “No. 14, I drove the ball in the fairway and then got it up and down from there. But 15 and 16, 15 I had 3 feet, and then 16, I had 2 feet. So just kind of felt like back to back, you know, really easy birdies. And then 17’s a pretty gettable par 5. Then 18, I pushed a drive a little right and then hit it about 8 feet or so below the hole, just leaving myself in the right spot to be aggressive and make some good putts.”
All of which impressed one of his playing partners during the first two rounds, 57-year-old Vijay Singh, a World Golf Hall of Famer who has won three major championships.
Impressive, too, for Singh was Wolff’s swing, which starts with a left leg wiggle and continues by taking the clubhead outside his hands on the takeaway on his way to raising the clubhead more upward than a traditional swing — all crescendoing with a powerful strike of the ball.
“The one thing that he did say is he thinks on TV and the announcers, the way they emphasize my hip or my trigger, he said in person it doesn’t look that weird because – I mean, not weird; he says it doesn’t look as unorthodox as they’re describing it because it’s all part of the swing,” Wolff said. “He said it’s really cool and I should stick with it. Not that I plan on changing it, but it was cool to hear that from him.”