Curtis takes advantage of his second chance at TOC
Ben Curtis joked after his round on Sunday at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions that he was the only guy who hit the first two holes in regulation and was 5 over for the day.
The former Open champion wasn’t talking about an 18-hole round, but just those two holes, when he posted a double bogey and triple bogey after starting on the back nine.
That Sunday round was highlighted when he hit 6-iron into the par-3 11th green and the ball landed on the green and stuck, but then the high winds eventually blew the ball off the green, and Curtis had a chip instead of a long putt for birdie.
Of course that was during conditions that eventually were deemed unplayable, and Curtis’ round was wiped out along with the other 29 competitors'.
On Monday, the PGA Tour started the first round of the TOC again and Curtis had another chance, but this time he would shoot a 3-under 70 and find his name squarely in the middle of the leaderboard.
“Huge difference,” Curtis said. “It was playable, it was blowing, but it's pretty normal compared to yesterday, which wasn’t normal.”
The greens are slower than even Curtis would like - reported to be between 8.5 and 9 on the Stimpmeter - and considerably slower than the Tour officials wanted before the tournament.
Curtis missed a 4-footer on the ninth hole - his final of the first round – to move into a tie for the lead, showing the rust he hoped to shake off with four rounds this week.
Now with another afternoon 18 to play, Curtis is just trying to navigate the Plantation Course, keeping his head down.
“You still have to shoot a low score,” Curtis said of the compressed, 54-hole tournament that will end Tuesday. “You have to get to probably 15 under to have a legitimate chance. You just got to keep plugging away, and the mind-set is just try to get 36 holes in the next two days.”
Oh, and on that fateful 11th hole? Curtis hit a 7-iron to 8 feet and made the birdie putt.
Some golf is finally being played in Kapalua.