Patrick Rodgers didn’t look like a Rolex Junior All-American after an opening-round 78, but he proved that he’s one of the world’s top juniors by following with a second-round 67 at The Junior PLAYERS Championship. The 11-shot improvement has moved him 37 spots up the leaderboard and into a tie for fifth at 1-over-par.
“I told my caddie on the range that I’ve never felt better about my game after a 78,” said Patrick, whose 67 ties the tournament’s lowest second round (Morgan Hoffmann, 2007). “I missed everything I looked at yesterday. I had nine lip-outs and missed five or six putts inside five feet, which I don’t normally do.”
After some work on the putting green (he said the key was to keep his head still and chest down), Patrick started the second round knowing he had little margin of error over the final 36 holes.
“I knew I couldn’t make it all up today. If I wanted to get back into it, it was a two-day process and I’d probably be coming from behind tomorrow,” Patrick said. “I actually made a couple mistakes, made three bogeys, but I made enough birdies to put myself a little closer.”
Since finishing third at this event in 2009, Patrick has learned what it takes to compete on a weekly basis. His 2010 campaign includes a win at the Western Junior and a runner-up finish at the Rolex Tournament of Champions.
“Last year at the time, that was probably the most pressure I’ve ever played in,” Patrick said of playing in the final group on Sunday. “It was a completely new experience to me, so I think I learned a lot from that and I’ve been in that position a lot of times before and I’ve never got it done, but hopefully tomorrow I’ll shoot another good one.”