Anytime you hole a sand wedge from 98 yards for eagle on a par 4, it's a good day. When you do it on your very first hole, as Hunter Mahan did Thursday at Ridgewood, you know the golf gods are with you.
Mahan took advantage of near-perfect conditions to post a course-record 62 in the first round at the Barclays. He hit 79% of the fairways and 83% of the greens in regulation, but his most impressive stat was total putts -- he took only 23.
After a disappointing performance at the PGA Championship two weeks ago, Mahan put the new IWI B60 putter in his bag.
"As soon as I grabbed it, put it down, it just looked good to me," he said Thursday. "I liked the feel and have been using it the last couple of weeks. It's been feeling great. Got a pretty good feeling on these greens."
According to Matt Rollins, a Ping Tour representative, the new putters "are cast [produced in a mold] and the face has a milled 304 stainless steel piece that is set with a polymer behind it."
By setting the face in the polymer, Ping is trying to soften the feel for players who use a hard golf ball. (For a better look at the face, click on the top image.) The IWI family of putters also features adjustable weights that screw into the sole and come in 12-, 20- and 28-gram versions.
Rollins does not think golfers will use the weights to set up a left or right bias, as some do with drivers that have similar systems. "But you could do that if you wanted to," he said. (For a better view of the weight system, click on the lower image.)
In addition to the B60 model, look for Ping IWI putters in the Anser, Zing, Craz-E and Half Craz-E head designs to arrive in pro shops later this fall. And if Hunter Mahan keeps putting the way he did on Thursday, look for him on the United States Ryder Cup team in September.