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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Bad days on the golf course no longer spiral into bad choices for Chris Kirk and good days, like Friday’s 65 at TPC Sawgrass, are so much sweeter.
Kirk has been sober for just under two years and he concedes that that not every day is easy, but his life and his choices are no longer dictated by how he performs at work.
“I certainly have my highs and lows still, like anybody, but my perspective is so different now that a bad day or a bad week is just not really going to bother me,” he said. “If I go shoot 75, no, I wouldn’t call that fun, I wouldn’t say that’s fun, but when I walk off the golf course, that’s it. It doesn’t matter anymore.”
It’s that epiphany that makes the good days like Friday worth savoring. Following a mundane 72 on Thursday, Kirk birdied four of his first eight holes on Friday and vaulted into contention with a hole out for eagle from 147 yards at the par-4 first hole (he started his round at No. 10).
Kirk’s 7-under card was the best round by two shots from the early wave and moved him into a tie for the early lead with Matthew Fitzpatrick. Although his ball-striking has been solid this week he credited Michael Cromie, his occasional caddie, for his improved play on the greens on Friday.
“I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a fantastic green reader on bent and on Bermuda greens, and I am a not-as-good green reader on poa annua and overseeded Bermuda [like at TPC Sawgrass],” Kirk said. “Towards the end of the round [Cromie], who’s one of my best friends and a very good player in his own right, plays professional golf also, used him a little bit more, and I would say I will most likely continue to use him a little bit more and more over the weekend.”