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LAS VEGAS – He lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, but it’s more than fair to call Pat Perez a Vegas Guy.
“I really like Vegas,” he said Saturday. “I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like Vegas.
“And if you don’t, I don’t even want to know you.”
At 18 under par following a third-round 62, Perez will enter Sunday at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in third place, five shots off the torrid pace set by Kevin Na.
Na’s performance on the greens is getting all the attention this week – and with good reason – but Perez isn’t far behind. He’s second in the field in strokes gained: putting and he’s also holed more than 400 feet worth of attempts through 54 holes.
“Both times I’ve won on Tour, I’ve led the field in putting,” he said. “I’m probably close, but it’s going to take another good day tomorrow to beat everybody.”
Sure, he’s riding a hot putter, but Perez says the key this week has been a switch back to the golf swing he abandoned two months ago. Following his ouster from FedExCup Playoffs at the Northern Trust, Perez made a concerted effort to get longer but instead wound up losing clubhead speed and spraying the ball left and right.
“When I try to kill it – like last week I did in Napa – I hit it all over the map. I had no control. I played terrible,” he said.
When he arrived here at TPC Summerlin on Monday, he decided to end the experiment. Six days later, he sees only two players ahead of him on the leaderboard.
“I’m trying to get it back in the fairway,” he said. “I played for three years one way, and I made a lot of money, won twice, did all these things, 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.
“I guess it’s kind of coming earlier than I thought it would.”