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David Skinns shares Cognizant lead days after putter scare

Statistically, just one player has putted better than David Skinns this week. The 42-year-old Englishman, who shares the 54-hole lead at the Cognizant Classic, has gained over six-and-a-half shots on the greens through three rounds, behind only Russell Henley.

Not even Henley, though, has dealt with the type of flatstick adversity as Skinns.

According to Monday Q Info’s Ryan French, Skinns’ putter was damaged during Thursday’s opening round at PGA National. Skinns, who has missed each of his first four cuts of the season while playing out of the reorder category, was 3 under through four holes as he played the par-4 14th, his fifth hole of the round. At some point before Skinns got to the green, Skinns’ caddie, Raymond Yoel, tripped over a gallery-rope post. The tumble bent Skinns’ putter badly, per French.

A Rules of Golf update in 2019 allows a player “to keep using and/or to repair any club damaged during the round, no matter what the damage and even if the player damaged it in anger.” So, Skinns, after confirming with a rules official, “bent, twisted and torqued [the putter] as much as he could to get it back to as close to possible as it was originally,” French tweeted.

Skinns’ first test was a 9-footer for par at No. 14. He made it. He played the rest of his round in bogey-free 3 under to cap an opening 6-under 65.

Following the round, Skinns went to a local golf shop and had the putter properly repaired.

It’s since continued to be very good to him.

“Saw a couple putts go in early, which is always nice,” Skinns said Saturday after holing three birdie putts of 14 feet or longer in Round 3. “Yeah, played solid. Just kind of had to lean on my short game a little at times, but was really pleased with the way I played all around.”