NORTON, Mass. – Talk about the proverbial “calm before the storm” – conditions at TPC Boston in the first round of the Deutsche Bank Championship were the definition of ideal.
Warm, breathless, soft in spots. Throw in the fact that tournament officials, knowing full well that Hurricane Earl might be paying a visit in the afternoon, set up the course on the easy side and even allowed for the ball to be “played up,” and well, “we had absolutely ideal conditions,” said Brendon de Jonge, who shot 4-under 67.
Sounds pretty good, eh?
Everything in perspective, because with the field average thus far at 67.284, de Jonge knows he didn’t exactly sprint from the starting blocks. Indeed, as de Jonge signed his card he discovered that he was four off the clubhouse lead.
To understand just how easy the guys had it, consider the group that went off fourth from the 10th tee – Zach Johnson and Jason Day each shot 63, Ryan Palmer 64. That’s a combined 23 under par, and had they been playing a best-ball, they’d have fired 14-under 57. Only four holes, Nos. 4, 6, 14 and 15, did not yield a birdie to this pairing.
“I think the course setup was conservative, and rightfully so, based on the potential for weather,” Johnson said.
They got deep into red numbers in various manners. Johnson made eight birdies in a bogeyless day, while Day mixed in 10 birdies with two bogeys and Palmer went for eight birdies and a bogey. Combined, they had 26 birdies.