PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Ollie Schniederjans is putting together the pieces of his broken game.
Even with a couple of chances to win over the past few years, Schniederjans didn’t believe that he possessed the necessary skill set to consistently compete on today’s PGA Tour.
“I wasn’t hitting it good enough,” he said. “I couldn’t work it both ways. I couldn’t get the ball in the air really well. I’m more in the place I’d like to be to be playing consistently at the top.”
Late last year, Schniederjans overhauled “everything” – his swing coach, caddie, trainer – and only now is starting to see the results, under the watchful eye of Butch Harmon and alongside veteran caddie Damon Green. Searching for his first top-30 finish in 18 starts, Schniederjans fired a 7-under 65 Saturday at The Players to move into contention heading into the final day.
Schniederjans’ speed is back – he led the field in driving distance in each of his past three starts – and he powered his way to the low round Saturday by having short irons into three of the four par 5s. He had a tense moment on the par-3 17th, when it appeared like his tee shot got hammered by the wind and would come up short, but it safely cleared and spun back onto the front edge. He grabbed his chest and squatted by his bag, relieved. With a par on the last he completed his best round in 41 tries this season.
“I’ve always been open-minded and willing to take risks to get better,” he said. “It’s just a journey, and you experiment a lot and you try a lot of things to see how you can be the best you can be. …
“To finally have a round like that today, and just to feel like I do about my game, to feel like I have a chance out there to go low and get in contention in big tournaments, I haven’t felt like that.”