Garner putts to record round at IHCC

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Paul Garner took his elongated Odyssey White Hot putter and his very odd “double-reverse overlapping underhanded claw” grip to Indian Hills Country Club this past weekend for the Indian Hills Men’s Invitational Tournament where White Hot became red-hot.

Garner putted his way through 54 holes for an 11-under-par tournament record and picked up his first IHCC Men’s Invitational win.

After shooting 68, 67 through his first two rounds at IHCC, Garner sunk all other’s hopes of a win on Sunday, as he shot a final-round 67 to finish nine strokes ahead of runner-up Sandy Brasher.

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“Boy was that fun,” Garner said of his three, indescribable rounds at Indian Hills.

“I just really had a good couple of days on the greens.”

It was on the greens where Garner made his mark at IHCC, as he dropped in a total of six birdies on Sunday with only one bogie recorded on his score card.

Garner, who had come close so many times to winning this prestigious tournament, says that it is his putting that made all the difference.

“The puts were just falling for me this weekend,” Garner said. “I’ve had four top five finishes at IHCC, and the only difference this year was the putting, it’s always the putting that makes the difference.”

Garner credits his putting to his very unique grip, which he has named the “double-reverse overlapping underhanded claw.” “It’s just a grip that I made up one day while working on my short game on the putting greens at the Ravine,” Garner said. “I fiddled around with a variety of different styles till I found one that worked for me.”

Some may some that shooting a 67 at Indian Hills is impressive, while others, like Ravine Golf Pro Rex Bible, would say impressive, just doesn’t do it any justice. “That’s almost unheard of,” Bible said of Garner’s score. “I mean that’s a tough course and a very tough tournament – the third most difficult to win in the state of Alabama – and you just don’t hear of too many golfers going out there on Sunday and shooting a 67.”

Maybe it was fate, or perhaps karma, or maybe it was astrology.

Garner’s performance at IHCC was much like that of PGA professional Retief Goosen at Shinnecock Hills.

Goosen broke the hearts of many New Yorkers this weekend as he one-putted the final six greens in Sunday’s final round of the 104th U. S. Open to beat crowd favorite Phil Mickelson.

So what does Goosen’s performance at Shinnecock have to do with Garner’s performance at IHCC?

Well if we look at the fact that both were born in the month of February and both fall under the zodiac sign of Aquarius, we see that the stars, moons and planets were aligned just right this week for Aquarius.

“I don’t know if Venus was in alignment with my fourth quadrant or what, but it was a magical three days of golf,” Garner said. “And I wished it happened all the time.”

Perhaps the answers in golf are in the zodiac, but it never hurts to have a good putter and a good short game to go along with it.

But Garner is prepared to test this theory Wednesday when he travels to Auburn to compete in the U. S. Pub-links Championship Local Qualifier at the 7,200-yard par 72 Robert Trent Jones Lake course.

If the stars and moons are in alignment for the Aquarius golfer, then Garner could be back competing for a U.S. Pub-Links Championship.