Tyler Duncan loses (driver) head in Dominican Republic
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Written by Paul Hodowanic @PaulHodowanic
Tyler Duncan didn’t see where his tee shot landed at the 15th hole Friday at the Corales Puntacana Championship.
Forgive him, though. He was too busy tracking the head of his driver, which had just broken clean off the shaft and was now tumbling down the tee box.
Duncan’s golf ball landed safely in the fairway. The driver head? Well, that’s more complicated. As Duncan hit the ball, the Titleist TSR2 dislodged from the shaft, flying into a native area filled with sand and thick bushes. The head was eventually found, but not by Duncan. The group abandoned their search after several minutes to continue playing.
“I've never seen that or experienced that before,” Duncan said after the round, describing the sensation as “smashing into a tee marker, then swinging fresh air after impact.”
Tyler Duncan loses his driver head and still makes birdie at Corales Puntacana
Think that would’ve flustered Duncan? Nope. The drive went roughly the same distance it normally does, and Duncan calmly knocked his approach shot to within 15 feet and made the putt for birdie as part of a second-round 65. He is 8 under par after 36 holes and was three back of leader Matt Wallace after Friday’s morning wave completed play.
What about finishing the round? With his current driver rendered useless, Duncan hoped an official could retrieve his backup driver from the hotel, but they couldn’t get into his room.
So, 3-wood it was off the tee at both the par-4, 461-yard 16th and the par-4, 501-yard 18th. Oh, and both were playing into the wind.
No problem, just a couple of routine pars.
“To finish without a driver is not really what you’re looking for but hit two great 3-woods and two great 4-irons,” said Duncan, who closed the round with three consecutive pars. Duncan, who won his lone PGA TOUR title at the 2019 RSM Classic, is 90th in this season’s FedExCup standings.
Now he’ll make do with his backup driver, which is actually the newer Titleist TSR3 that he’s been working with in recent weeks to get ready for competitive play.
“Oddly enough, I used it in the pro-am last week because I got my driver out for the pro-am and saw there was a crack in it, so I had one of my buddies overnight a head from home that I ended up playing last week and that's the one that flew off today,” Duncan said. “So I'll use the one that I used in the pro-am last week.”
It will certainly get some high-leverage reps on the weekend. Before the driver fiasco on 15, Duncan made six consecutive birdies on the front nine, a tournament record. Now he has an opportunity to notch his second career PGA TOUR win.
He’ll need the driver to cooperate.