AUGUSTA, Ga. — A golfer switching putters hardly merits a headline. Collin Morikawa did so countless times when he was younger.

“College was a fun one,” the two-time major champion cracked.

What is notable is when it’s done in the middle of a tournament. Even more curious? When it’s done in the middle of the Masters, and you’re now one stroke off the lead heading into the final round.

Perhaps Morikawa’s switch from a TaylorMade Spider mallet to an Olson blade prototype putter after the first round is not the only reason he will tee off in the final pairing at six under par, one back of leader Scottie Scheffler. But it does seem like a rather genius switch—or non-switch, really—given his position now.

While going to the Olson seemed like a hasty mid-tourney adjustment, the Olson blade was the putter Morikawa had been using since March. He thought he wanted the Spider for Augusta National, and through practice rounds, was pretty sure he was right.

“I felt really, really good,” the six-time PGA Tour winner said. “Felt better than I’ve kind of felt all year. But sometimes you don’t know how it’s going to feel in the tournament.”

After an opening round that extended from Thursday afternoon into Friday morning, Morikawa said he wasn’t comfortable enough with the mallet to continue, was after rolling in a long birdie putt on 18 to finish at 71.

“It was just for me to finish the round, like I just wanted to get the putter out of my hands because I couldn’t get comfortable with it,” he said.

Since reverting to the Olson, Morikawa has ranked among the putting statistical leaders for the week, and that’s factoring in several missd opportunities during his third-round 69. After rolling in three consecutive birdies to start Saturday, Morikawa squandered opportunities on both back-nine par 5s to lose ground to Scheffler.

Long one of the tour’s top ball-strikers, Morikawa’s work with putting coach Stephen Sweeney has the golfer relying more on instinct than mechanics on the greens. He shared some of his new mindset with Golf Digest’s Luke Kerr-Dineen in January, and elaborated Saturday on how it applies to Augusta National.

“It’s really just being able to see the line, see the speed and just stay creative and stay kind of—create that artwork out there,” Morikawa said. “I’ve been using AimPoint for just under a year now, and once you get to some putts out here, you just can’t use them. It’s all feel. You’ve just got to see the putts.”


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