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A day after Scott Stallings' caddie asked him if 'we could break 80,' he jumps near AT&T Byron Nelson lead

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MCKINNEY, Texas — The game seemed to slow down for Scott Stallings during Friday’s second round of the AT&T Byron Nelson. Usually, when a pro athlete makes that proclamation, it means things have come into focus.

When Stallings, who once had sinus surgery, makes that statement, it’s because he’s in a fog after treating his allergies.

“I tried a different sinus medication yesterday, and after about seven holes my caddie looked at me and said, ‘You think we could break 80?’ ” Stallings said. “So with all the cottonwood and everything blowing around here, after my sinus surgery it kind of messes with me a little bit. So I tried a different one. Thought I was getting used to it.”

He finished the second round with a 71, well back of the leaders.

Conversely, whatever Stallings took prior to the third round he should stick with. Born in Worcester, Massachusetts and later an all-state golfer in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Stallings got red hot on Saturday, posting six consecutive birdies starting on the fifth hole en route to a 63 that pushed him temporarily into second place at TPC Craig Ranch.

Stallings sits at 15 under heading into Sunday’s final round, and he’ll be looking to break a PGA Tour drought that goes back to 2014, when he won the Farmers Insurance Open.

Although the course is getting gobbled up a bit by PGA Tour players — the field was more than a combined 900 under par by midday on Saturday — Stallings is feeling fortunate to be in such a position. Halfway through his round on Friday, he was just 1 under.

“Yeah, there is a lot of birdie opportunities out there still. Both the short holes guys can get close to the green. All the par-5s are in great spots for birdies and eagles,” he said. “There are some good pin locations out there. Some par-3s, 17 is super tough and be in between number for most guys. But these guys are great. Just because it’s windy doesn’t mean anything. The golf course is set up great and it’s still soft. I expect this course to improve.”

One key to Stallings’ success is his ability to make putts of late. On Saturday he needed just 23 total putts, and boasted 111 feet in putts holed. He entered the week 134th on the Tour in Strokes Gained: Putting.

“I’ve been working hard. My caddie (Jon Yarbrough) and my short game coach, Tim, after Hilton Head kind of had … and especially with Zurich, kind of all came together,” he said. “But I just tried to learn week in, week out. I’ve gained every week since I started doing it and feel a lot more comfortable on the greens.”

original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/05/15/pga-tour-scott-stallings-caddie-att-byron-nelson/

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