After his 62 at Shriners, Pat Perez says he got a little lazy but he's back to work now

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After his 62 at Shriners, Pat Perez says he got a little lazy but he's back to work now

PGA Tour

After his 62 at Shriners, Pat Perez says he got a little lazy but he's back to work now

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LAS VEGAS – Pat Perez hit rock bottom in last season’s Northern Trust, the kickoff of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

The only good thing was his miserable season was finally over, a campaign marred by a left calf injury that sidelined him at various stages and a swing change that eventually took him away from his strengths. In his last eight starts, Perez, who began to focus on widening his stance and lengthening his swing to gain power, fizzled as he missed two cuts, withdrew from one event and didn’t finish better than a tie for 37th.

His new season started with some old bad habits, as he tried to, in his words, kill it off the tee in last week’s Safeway Open.

He missed the cut.

But a good three days of work on the range at TPC Summerlin this week ahead of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open has Perez feeling like himself again. He has shortened his swing, reverted back to his old setup and left his ego on the tee with driver in hand.

Seems to be working. Perez turned in a bogey-free, 9-under-par 62 to climb the leaderboard and stood two shots out of the lead when he left the course.

“You get to a point where you get fed up. I was probably a little bit lazy and I needed to put some work in,” Perez said. “I got into this power thing when I was trying to hit it so much farther and hit it a long way. Well I just can’t do it.

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“I played for three years one way and I made a lot of money, won twice, and then I went away from it to try to get longer. It just hurt my game, so I went back to the drawing board. It’s finally starting to piece together.”

His power play wasn’t a total disaster. He is stronger after spending a lot of time lifting and he’s gained 5 miles per hour on his swing speed. His irons do go longer and he’s gained yardage with the driver, but now, with his old, shortened swing, he knows where the ball is going.

His putter is working, too. Perez has made 407 feet of putts through three rounds. Making 400 feet of putts through four rounds is considered exceptional.

“It’s going to take another good day tomorrow,” he said. “Hit some good shots, make some putts, see what happens. It is fun doing that. It’s more fun than shooting 75, I can tell you that much.”

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