Ping rep Matt Rollins had some weights added to the putter, and equally important was an impromptu lesson from Lamar golf coach Brian White.
"It's one of those things," Points said. "I holed some nice par putts yesterday in my pro-am. I didn't hit it great, but I made a few good putts and the ball was going in the hole with nice pace and rolling real tight. And I thought, 'All right, this might be the key that kind of gets me going.'"
That it did.
For McIlroy, it was another slow start. He has yet to break par in his five opening rounds this year — that includes the Match Play Championship — and found himself behind early. He was in a fairway bunker on the eighth hole, opened the face of 9-iron to advance the ball as far as he could, and caught the lip. With some 250 yards for his third shot, a 5-wood leaked into the water and he walked off with a double bogey.
But he never got down on himself.
"I think I learned from that over the last few weeks. I've got to keep my spirits up," McIlroy said. "I felt like I was doing that a bit too much at the Match Play and the Honda, and obviously we saw what happened there."
Frustrations boiled over at the Honda Classic halfway through the second round when McIlroy walked off the course. He vowed not to do that again.
Mickelson, meanwhile, was going along nicely despite some errant tee shots, such as his one on the 12th hole. He sliced the tee shot so far left that it bounced off the cart path, across the 13th tee box and down a slope toward the bushes. He was about pin-high, only 100 yards left of the green. He hit wedge into about 15 feet and turned to the gallery and said, "It's all about angles."
The angles caught up with him. Mickelson tee shot on the sixth never cleared the water, leading to his sloppy finish.