Gig Harbor’s Kyle Stanley knows the chances of becoming Ben Crenshaw-esque with the putter in his hands are remote.
To sustain a profitable career on the PGA Tour, the former Bellarmine Prep star knows he doesn’t have to be.
All he has to be is average.
“I feel like if my ball-striking is where it normally is, and if I keep putting around average or a little bit better, I will have some good years on the tour,” Stanley said.
The 29-year-old started the 2017 season with a tied-for-36th showing at the Sony Open in Hawaii. He is in the field this week at the Farmers Insurance Open at renovated Torrey Pines near San Diego.
He has been playing well, too, making the cut in seven of his past eight PGA Tour starts. Five of those finishes have been tied for 22nd or better, including a tied-for-seventh effort at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in November.
“I have certainly been happy with how I played from August moving forward,” said Stanley, who rallied to make the FedEx Cup playoffs last season. “It’s not that I was playing poorly previously in the year — I was making a lot of cuts — but I just wasn’t putting four rounds together.”
Three years ago, Stanley was in the middle of a horrible season on the greens. One golf publication called it the worst putting season ever on the PGA Tour, something the former Clemson All-American does not buy at all.
“I don’t view myself as a bad putter. I never have,” Stanley said. “I had a couple of poor years.”
Stanley reunited with short-game guru Ralph Bauer at the end of that season, and continues to work with him. The improvement is marked. Last season, Stanley ranked 123rd in shots gained in putting. He shaved nearly one putt off his average per round (29.47).
Interestingly enough, he installed an indoor putting facility in the upstairs garage of his Gig Harbor house.
“When you get your confidence up, the hole looks a little bit bigger,” Stanley said.
The Kyle Stanley file
Hometown: Gig Harbor.
High school/college: Bellarmine Prep/Clemson.
Recap of 2016 season: Made 18 of 28 cuts, with five top-25 finishes. Earned $580,734. Best finish was a tie for 13th at the Sony Open.
Caddie: Brian Reed.
Agent: Brad Buffoni.
Instructors: Ralph Bauer and Chris Griffin.
In the bag: TaylorMade M1 430 driver, TaylorMade M1 3-wood, Nike Vapor Pro irons, TaylorMade RS1 4-iron, Nike Engage S2 wedges (52 and 54 degrees), TaylorMade SB wedge (60 degrees), Nike Method Core putter, Titleist Pro V1x golf ball/TaylorMade TPS golf ball.