Golf notebook: Shorter Hart showing some heart


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The key to Jeff Hart's success: Try less and less.

After shooting Fox Chapel Golf Club's second-lowest score Friday at 5-under 65, Hart said he wasn't necessarily swinging that well on the course. He simply stopped thinking about his game, and said "let it go."

"Basically, I don't feel like my game's all that good," Hart said. "I'm changing my swing every other hole out there like I normally do."

Hart finished his second round at the Constellation Senior Players Championship at 7 under 133, and walked off the course as the clubhouse leader. Hart was one of 15 golfers to finish the second round, before rain Friday postponed the remainder of play.

While Hart said his game isn't substantially better, his numbers Friday prove otherwise. He hit 13 of 14 fairways in regulation and had seven birdies.

While fairways were an easy target for Hart, he frequently was leaving his drives short, often driving the ball around 230-240 yards with a foot or so of roll. The course played so long for Hart, that irons weren't a common option for him. Instead, the fairway wood would be his companion.

"Some of the holes were playing very long for me," Hart said. "I'm hitting it so short."

While Hart birdied the par-5 second hole, a common score for the field, he also birdied the par-3 third, which isn't so routine.

Hart continued his strong opening, as he birdied five of the first nine holes, reaping the benefits of an early tee time and soft greens from rain Thursday, which began to firm up Friday as the day went on before more rain fell.

But Hart does have the advantage of only having to play 18 holes today, as 66 golfers in the field will have to begin their day at 8 a.m., where they left off Friday.

Hart was only 1 under on his final nine holes, as his spot near the top of the leader board made it harder for Hart to not really think about his play. With a Saturday and Sunday that should have Hart in competition for the lead, a "thoughtless" game will only grow tougher to accomplish.

"That's the challenge," Hart said of "letting it loose" into the weekend. "That's the issue for me."

Montgomerie heats up

Playing in his first Champions Tour tournament, Colin Montgomerie was disappointed Thursday, when he finished the first round tied for 21st.

He was unsatisfied with his putting, which led him to a first-round 1-under 68.

But Friday, Montgomerie came out of the gates a little warmer. He birdied four of his first seven holes, although he did bogey the par-3 sixth.

After playing 12 holes before the rain, Montgomerie finished the shortened day 4 under for a tie for 10th, a much better position to make a move over the final two days of the tournament.

Wait for the weekend

Second-round leaders or co-leaders have won just 12 of the previous 30 Constellation Senior Players Championships. It also has happened just twice in the past 14 years -- Loren Roberts in 2007 and Fred Couples in 2011. The biggest climb to champion in tournament history happened in 2006, when Bobby Wadkins came from 30th place to win the event.

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Everett Cook: ecook@post-gazette.com and Twitter @everettcook. Mike Vernon: mvernon@post-gazette.com and Twitter @m_vernon First Published June 29, 2013 4:00 AM


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