Big Play: Thompson's sliced drive on 18th hole in final round at McGladrey

Big Play: Thompson’s sliced drive on 18th hole in final round at McGladrey

Michael Thompson's drive into a hazard eventually led to this missed putt for par of the 72nd hole.
Stephen Morton/AP

WHO: Michael Thompson
WHAT: 264-yard sliced drive into the hazard
WHEN: Final round of the McGladrey Classic
WHERE: 470-yard par-4 18th hole at Sea Island’s Seaside Course

After three rounds, Thompson, a 25-year-old rookie, led by one stroke, and he increased the margin to three shots through six holes on Sunday. After some shaky play in the middle of the round, Thompson came to the final hole tied for the lead, needing a birdie for his first career win and a par to make the playoff with Ben Crane and Webb Simpson. Thompson had reason to be excited — he had made two pars and a birdie at 18 earlier in the week.

But rookie jitters got the best of Thompson. At 18, he hit a big slice off the tee that ended up in a hazard well right of the fairway, and after making a bogey Thompson finished third.

The Drill: When you can’t afford to hit a slice and the pressure is on, make two key adjustments at address.

1. Strengthen your grip. To strengthen it, rotate both hands a little bit extra under the grip, or away from the target. The stronger grip gives you a closed face relative to the swing path, and the closed face will help you hit a draw or a straight ball.

2. Drop the right (or back) foot back. Move the right foot a few inches away from the target line so you have a closed stance. That helps you make a fuller, more complete turn, which allows the club to come into the ball from the inside.

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Mike Adams teaches at Hamilton Farm Golf Club in Gladstone, N.J.