WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS - Sam Saunders is carrying quite a memento from his late grandfather, Arnold Palmer. In fact, the symmetries this week are quite compelling.
Saunders is certainly playing well on his own merit so far at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier as he carded a 3-under 67 on Saturday to get to 12 under, just two shots back of the lead shared by Harold Varner III and Kelly Kraft, the second-round leader.
Playing at the Old White TPC, where Palmer earned his money as a professional golfer for the first time in the 1955 Greenbrier Open, Saunders is using a putter given to him by his grandfather and, so far, it has done nicely. He ranks 15th in the field in strokes gained putting heading into Sunday's final round.
"It was one of the original two-ball putters from Odyssey," Saunders explained. "It's a great putter and he did tell me that it was one he wanted me to use, so hopefully it's got some good luck in it."
Saunders only started using the putter again three weeks ago after originally using it in high school and college before switching. He's still searching for his first career win and finds himself on a golf course that he's suddenly figured out after years of struggle.
This week marks Saunders' fifth appearance in the PGA Tour stop at White Sulphur Springs, and this is the first time he's even made the cut, much less threatened to win.
After his round on Saturday, Saunders said nothing had really changed with the golf course and credited his own improvements for the sudden success on the Old White TPC.
"I hit the ball a lot further now than I have the last few years," Saunders said. "I hit it higher and different shapes -- I've played well at some courses this year that I haven't the last three years due to a totally different shot shape, and I'm seeing holes a lot differently. All together, I feel like year four in now on Tour I'm just a better player. Maturity wise, any week when the game feels good it doesn't matter if you like the course or not or it doesn't fit your eye, you should be able to play good golf."
This article is written by Ryan Pritt from The Charleston Gazette, W.Va. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.