Jack Renner once said it was his goal to play a complete round of golf in total concentration, without smiling. Renner broke that decree with a wide grin after he hit a six-iron shot into the hole from the fairway for eagle 2 at the par-4, 409-yard fifth hole yesterday en route to 71 in the Kemper Open at Congressional.
"I was smiling because my caddie said something funny," said Renner, who could not recall the quip. "I hit a perfect shot, it wasn't a fluke or anything. We couldn't see it from the fairway. It was to a sunken part of the green. I knew it was going to be close to the pin and I kind of lost hope on it, but when the people starting screaming I knew it was in.
"I was 169 yards from the hole and the pin was on the right side of the green, behind a bunker. That called for a fade shot and that's my natural shot. I hit it the best I can hit it."
Renner munched on an apple ("I always carry fruit") as he plucked the ball from the cup to the ovation of the gallery.
Renner said to hit a fade or a slight slice with an iron, he aims the club face at the target, aligns his hips and shoulders slightly left of the target, and takes a normal swing. "The ball will start left but the club puts spin on the ball to make it fade."
Renner says many amateurs fail "strategically" in their iron game when they don't hit what is their natural shot, either hook or fade. "I see amateurs slice 14 iron shots in a row in search of hitting that one shot like they think they are supposed to. A tip would be that they accept the pattern they normally hit the ball, hook or slice. Use it to the best of their ability. Go with what they do naturally."
Renner said he has had the problem of "swinging too fast" with his irons lately. "That happens to everyone, Jack Nicklaus or a 21 handicapper."
He also has had the flu. He had a sore throat yesterday but felt stronger than in his opening round, also a 71.
"I felt pretty mellow today. I didn't get too charged up with the eagle. Maybe I should have. I was glad to make 2 and get farther into the red (under-par figures)."
The eagle put Renner three under par for the tournament, but he gave a stroke back with a bogey at his finishing hole, failing to get down in two strokes from a green-side sand trap.
"Two under par is not too bad at this point," he said.