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Jonathan Wall

Gary Woodland could very easily become a household name

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One of the PGA Tour's best kept secret could be on the verge of breaking out. You probably wouldn't know him if he came up and shook your hand, but after this week there's a good chance we'll all remember the name Gary Woodland.

At 24-under, Woodland is currently tied with Jhonattan Vegas for the Bob Hope Classic lead - and one good round away from becoming a first-time winner on the PGA Tour.

Like most up-and-coming golfers not named McIlroy or Fowler, Woodland has found it nearly impossible to stand out amongst the growing crop of hot, young golfers.

It's not like Woodland is your average pro. He turned down a golf scholarship at Kansas to play basketball at Division II Washburn, but eventually left basketball one year later to play golf at, you guessed it, Kansas, where he won four straight collegiate tournaments during one season.

He also has one of the fastest swings on tour that's been clocked at over 200 mph. And, no, that's not a typo. But like most rookies on the PGA Tour, Woodland got lost along the way after having high hopes for his first season.

After losing his card in 2009, he spent last season bouncing between the Nationwide and playing in a few PGA Tour events. While he was bombing it off the tee - he ranked fifth in driving distance on tour in '09 - Woodland couldn't seem to get his short game in order.

It wasn't until he got a putting lesson with Brad Faxon - one of the best putters in the game - during last season's Turning Stone event that everything suddenly clicked.

"After Turning Stone, I went to the Nationwide Tour, and I putted it really well, all the way through Q-School," Woodland said after Saturday's fourth round. "I called [Faxon], worked with him a little bit this offseason, and he's been wonders for me more on the mental side of putting than on the physical side. "

It's that renewed confidence that now has Woodland 18 holes away from being able to call and thank Faxon for the putting lesson that helped him get his PGA Tour career on track.

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