As Palmetto defending champs trail, anchoring on minds

Myers Park High School player Davis Morrison uses an anchored putter.

Myers Park High School player Davis Morrison uses an anchored putter.

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— NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – On another chilly, but sunny day at Barefoot Resort and Golf, Myers Park (N.C.) High School senior Davis Morrison had issues on the putting green.

He went from 26 putts during the qualifying round to 38 Friday on the Norman course. He shot 16-over 88 in the first round of the Palmetto High School Championship.

He blames it on his putting.

On Thursday, his teammates were surprised when he pulled the long putter out of his bag after giving it a rest since August of 2012. He wanted to give the long stick another try. He kept it in the bag today, and it didn’t help him at all.

Morrison started using a long putter and anchoring it in August 2011. He was down in Sea Island, Ga., for a tournament and had played and putted poorly.

The next day he was ‘messing around’ with a long putter from the clubhouse just to see what it was like. He took a lesson from Mike Shannon, who is one of the elite instructors in Sea Island, and liked the way it felt. He anchors just to the left of his belly button to keep the putter in front of the ball and moving forward.

“He told me it would help my stroke because I hung on to it too much, or in other words, I wouldn’t release it,” Morrison said.

He gave it a go and it worked out. So he kept it in the bag for a whole year.

“During the 2012 summer, I saw probably 1 out of every 10 players using it,” Morrison said of junior players using the long putter. “Because of the proposing rules change, I don’t see players using it anymore. I know I’m the only one out here this week (using a long putter or anchoring).

“I don’t like (the proposed ban), because it’s preventing a player from using a club that fits them,” Morrison said. “I don’t like how the PGA Tour came out and made that statement either that they may go against the ban. It’s going to affect us, the amateurs and juniors more, and that’s not who it should effect.”

Whether or not the anchoring ban sticks, Morrison knows he has to switch back to a short putter.

He and his twin brother, Austin, are attending William & Mary in the fall, and head coach Jay Albaugh doesn’t like the long putter or anchoring.

“Hopefully this summer or after this 45-day period, the USGA comes down with a hard decision,” Morrison said. “No matter what though, when I’m not worried about school or homework over the summer, that’s when I’ll focus on going back to the short putter.”

Morrison had the highest score on his Myers Park team; therefore his score didn’t count. The defending champs finished at 27-over 315, eight shots back of Forsyth (N.C.) Country Day School after Round 1. In second is Forestview (N.C.) High School at 24-over.

D.K. Kim of Marvin Ridge (N.C.) High School leads the Championship Flight’s individual leaderboard after shooting an opening-round 1-over 73.

In the First Flight, Statesville (N.C.) High School shot 49-over 337 on Barefoot’s Love course to stand in first place. St. Joseph (S.C.) High School and Greendale (Wis.) High School are tied for second at 53-over.

Durham (N.C.) Academy’s Quade Lukes shot 3-over 75 to take sole possession of the First Flight’s individual race.

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