Thomasville Times Enterprise

January 18, 2014

English lurking near Humana top

Garrett Johnston
Special to the Times-Enterprise

LA QUINTA, Calif. — Harris English is playing roughly the best golf of his young PGA Tour career. The third-year former Georgia Bulldog from Thomasville, Ga., is coming off a near-miss last week at the Sony Open in Hawaii where he lead on Sunday on the back nine before settling for fourth place.

This weekend he is competing in the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation. And through two rounds, he played himself into decent position at 11 under in a tie for 8th place, seven strokes behind Patrick Reed.

English points to a change in equipment to Callaway as part of his recent ascension in form.

“Switching to Callaway instilled a lot of confidence in myself,” English said.

“I’m very confident in the stuff I’m playing with.”

For his first two full seasons on Tour, the 24-year-old played Ping clubs.

But beyond his new quiver of arrows, English believes that his commitment to the short game is proving itself now.

“I feel like I’m getting a lot out of my rounds and my short game is really paying off,” English said.

“I’ve played a lot of golf with Matt Kuchar and Zach Johnson (in Sea Island) and I noticed how good their short game is and how it keeps them in tournaments. They can hit it bad and still finish top 25 so that’s what it’s all about.”

English also points to the influence of renowned wedge designer Roger Cleveland in a recent trip to Crlsbad, Calif., as a key for Harris to truly understand his wedge game. In May of last year, English but Brownie Smith on the bag and he attributes much of his success to Smith’s calm and experience as a caddie.

As English and golf star Rory McIlror remain the only player under 25 with multiple PGA Tour wins, the former still points to his experience grouped with the former world number during the heat of a final round as a major learning experience.

“I got a lot of experience my rookie year playing with Rory in the final round of Honda (Classic),” English said. “I didn’t play well but I kind of learned how to control my emotions out there. Hearing a lot of stuff from players and how you’re going to react, you don’t really know until you go through it yourself.”

English did it and continues to do so in fine fashion.