TCU’s Trevor Brown tied for second after Firecracker first round

Trevor Brown hadn’t touched his TaylorMade Spider mallet putter in nearly six months.

But recently he decided to go back to it in order to spark his putting. That spark came just in time for one his most important tournaments of the year.

Brown, a junior on the TCU men’s golf team, immediately caught fire with the flat stick on Saturday at Lions Municipal Golf Course, helping him card a 6-under 65 to tie for second after the first round of the 72nd Firecracker Open.

“I got a lot of confidence with the putter right now,” Brown said. “I think I had 10 putts on the front nine. The putter was just rolling.Really confident with the putter, and the greens were the best I’ve seen them out here at Lions.”

Brown’s decision to try out a mallet putter this week in hopes of better luck on the greens is a familiar story. Many in the golf world are familiar with the fact that 14-time major champion Tiger Woods is playing with a new TaylorMade mallet putter this week at the Quicken Loans National in Potomac, Maryland. Woods has long trusted his Scotty Cameron blade putter, but after multiple disappointing putting performances this year, he decided to go with a new flat stick. That change has given Woods success on the greens this week.

Decisions like that are all about feel. Brown was in a similar situation and also turned to a mallet putter in hopes of better feel and better performance on the greens.

“Sometimes you just need change,” Brown said. “I wanted to look at something different. I’ve always putted with a blade my whole life. I’ve had the most success with (the Spider mallet putter). I don’t actually know why I ever went away from it. But it came back and getting some old success back.”

After a par at the 10th, his opening hole of the day, Brown went on a tear with three straight birdies followed by an eagle at the par-5 14th. He made another birdie at the short par-4 18th, his ninth hole of the day, to make the turn with a scorching 6-under 29 on the front.

Brown made birdie again at the par-5 second to put him at 7 under on the day. For a while, it looked as if he was gunning for a course record. But his putter eventually cooled off, and he didn’t record a birdie for the rest of the round. He closed with a bogey at the par-4 ninth after failing to get up and down from behind the green.

After playing his high school golf for Westlake, Brown signed with Rice to begin his college career. But one year with the Owls was enough for him. He decided to transfer to TCU after realizing Rice wasn’t necessarily the right place for him.

“It wasn’t a good fit for me,” Brown said. “We struggled a lot. I had a good season individually … I just thought there’d be other places for me where I could be happier as a person and a player.”

Brown sat out this past season due to NCAA rules, and he spent the year sharpening his game and getting better. Now, he’s contending on the leaderboard of one of Austin’s biggest tournaments.

The potential of his game was on full display on Saturday at Lions, and he sits only three off the lead heading into Sunday’s second round.

“I haven’t played in this thing in four years,” Brown said. “I’m just so happy and excited to be out here playing again in this because it’s one of my favorite tournaments in Austin and in Texas. It’s always an honor to be out here. The competition is always a lot of fun, and there’s a lot of local guys who I know. So we always have a good time out here.”

Alex Ellis shot a 9-under 62, including three eagles on the card, and holds a three-shot lead after the first round of the Firecracker Open. For the full leaderboard, click here: leaderboard.htm

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