DE­LAET’S GAME SHOWS SIGNS OF LIFE

Edmonton Sun - - SPORTS - — Jon mccarthy

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Gra­ham de­laet is leav­ing Las Vegas more op­ti­mistic about his come­back than he was when he ar­rived.

the 37-year-old cana­dian shot a one-over par 72 on Fri­day and missed the cut at the Shriners Hos­pi­tals for chil­dren Open. It was his first start on a 24-tour­na­ment ma­jor med­i­cal ex­emp­tion af­ter miss­ing nearly two years re­cov­er­ing from a sec­ond back surgery, de­laet shot 75-71 to fin­ish at five-over par for the week.

“I showed a lot of good signs this week,” he told Postmedia af­ter his round. “I ob­vi­ously had a cou­ple re­ally bad holes and some sloppy play, some rust maybe. but I also hit some re­ally, re­ally good shots. My wedge game was pretty good. I think I can take enough pos­i­tives to go into next week and be a lit­tle bit more op­ti­mistic than I was here this week.”

One of the bad holes de­laet was re­fer­ring to was a quadru­ple bo­gey eight on the par-4 18th hole on Fri­day. af­ter flub­bing a chip from a tough lie off of the green, he tried to play on to the green with his put­ter and the ball car­ried over the green and into the wa­ter. a chip and two putts later, he had a snow­man on his score­card.

the good news is that aside from that hole, de­laet played the rest of his round in three-un­der par, with five birdies and two bo­geys.

“I didn’t re­ally know what to ex­pect,” he said. “I was hop­ing I would play bet­ter than this, but I did have a few re­ally good spots. I felt good two thirds of the time out their and I felt un­com­fort­able the other third. I had a few kick-ins to make the score seems a lit­tle bet­ter than it was.”

de­laet’s world-class ball-strik­ing was on dis­play at times, and seems to have sur­vived the in­jury. He said ear­lier in the week that had he been forced to change his swing to com­pen­sate for his bad back, he likely would have quit.

We asked him af­ter his round on Fri­day whether there were times over the past two years when he thought that his ca­reer was over.

“I thought that a lot for sure, so this is gravy now,” de­laet said.

“even

today, I wasn’t ob­vi­ously very happy af­ter I make quad on 18 but it was just like, let’s keep pug­ging away and work on things and get a bit of mo­men­tum go­ing into next week. I know it’s a missed cut but there’s still things you can take away.” bar­ring any phys­i­cal set­backs over the next few days, de­laet plans to tee it up next thurs­day at the Hous­ton Open. af­ter that, his plan is to play PGA tour stops in ber­muda and Mex­ico in Novem­ber, and be fully ready to play a more com­plete sched­ule be­gin­ning Jan­uary.

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