At times things got a little rocky for Graham DeLaet at the Honda Classic (mostly on the back nine of the third round), but when it was added up it resulted in a tenth place finish – his third in just eight starts for the 2016/2017 PGA TOUR season.
DeLaet turned in rounds of 66-68-70-70 on the tricky PGA National Champion course in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. to finish at -6 overall, six back of winner Rickie Fowler.
For his efforts the Saskatchewan native picked up (USD) $172,800, which takes his earnings for the season to over $600,000. It has been mostly derived from a t-8 finish at the Sanderson Farms Championship, a share of 9th at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and his play this week, backed by another top 20 (t-17) at the Genesis Open. He has earned more than $450,000 in his last three starts.
That’s a nice streak of three top 20 finishes in the past month and shows the veteran pro is headed in the right direction. He currently stands in 52nd place in the International Team President’s Cup rankings and will need more fine play if he is to return to the event in which he competed in 2013.
Canadians currently ahead of DeLaet in the President’s Cup standings are Adam Hadwin (27) and Mackenzie Hughes (29).
At PGA National, DeLaet displayed his trademark impressive skills from tee to green. But the big difference this week, and this year? He has continued to make big strides in the area where he has struggled the most in his game, around the green. Ranked 200th in Strokes Gained for Around The Green for the 2016/2017 season, he was just 42nd in that ranking this past week in south Florida.
Even better, given his penchant for a balky flat stick in the past, he ranked 13th in Strokes Gained for Putting at The Honda Classic. He is actually 20th in that category on Tour this year. In 2016 he ranked 139th in that category for the season. 110th in 2015.
The last, and only time, he ranked in the top 100 for the entire season for Strokes Gained – Putting, was a 76th place showing. Yes, the same year he earned his way on to the International Team for President’s Cup, 2013.
That marked improvement is a big reason for his success of late, and a good sign of even better things to come for the rest of 2017.
Canadians David Hearn and Mackenzie Hughes also made the cut at the Honda Classic. Hearn (69-71-67-73) tied for 43rd while Hughes (69-71-72-75) tied for 66th.