Tony Romo has his best round yet on PGA Tour after being 'worst bunker player' on Earth

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Tony Romo has his best round yet on PGA Tour after being 'worst bunker player' on Earth

PGA Tour

Tony Romo has his best round yet on PGA Tour after being 'worst bunker player' on Earth

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NAPA, Calif. – Maybe Tony Romo wants to get out of his NFL broadcasting duties on Sunday.

All kidding aside, Romo, 39, played some fine golf on Thursday at the Silverado Resort and Spa. Romo shot a 2-under 70 in the first round of the Safeway Open, his best score in seven rounds of PGA Tour competition, and put himself in position to make the 36-hole cut.

That would prevent him from doing his day job commentating for CBS Sports on the Chicago Bears-Minnesota Vikings game on Sunday.

“It’s a good problem to have,” Romo said with a smile.

MORE: Tee times, TV info | Updates | Scores | Photos

Romo is playing this week as the lone amateur in the 144-man field, and had players buzzing about his round.

“It’s bloody impressive,” said Adam Scott, who held a share of the lead after shooting 65. “I ain’t ever going to throw a pass in the NFL, that’s for sure, so I think it’s unbelievable that he can do that.”

PGA Tour rookie Maverick McNealy was on the 17th tee when an electronic scoreboard alerted him that he was tied with Romo, who retired from the Dallas Cowboys in 2017, and told his caddie, “We better make birdie here. We’re tied with a quarterback.”

Starting on the 10th tee and playing with Beau Hossler and Michael Gellerman, Romo opened in style by canning a 50-foot birdie.

“The cup looked real big after that,” said Romo, who took just 26 putts for the round.

He then bogeyed 14 but scrambled for birdie at the par-5 18th. On his second nine, he recovered from bogeys on Nos. 3 and 4 with birdies on Nos. 5 and 8 to get to 1 under for the day.

On his final hole of the day, the 556-yard par-5 ninth, Romo drained a seven-footer for birdie, giving him three birdies in his last five holes. Romo beat both of his fellow playing competitors – Hossler shot 74 and Gellerman carded 77.

When asked what was the difference from his three previous PGA Tour starts when he missed the cut by a mile, Romo said, “Let’s see, everything.”

Romo then recounted how he has revamped his swing with golf instructor Chris O’Connell, whose students include Matt Kuchar, and has improved at managing his misses. He has worked hard on his putting, which let him down in previous Tour starts at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship and AT&T Byron Nelson. And there was no denying that his sand save at 18 was Tour quality.

“I went from probably the worst bunker player on planet earth last year to feeling at least comfortable,” he said. “That’s why you spend hours out there by yourself, so you can step up and know you’ve done it before and just try to execute.”

To those who thought Romo should stick to the pro-am and celebrity circuit, he delivered a resounding statement that he’s got game. And tournament organizers of the Safeway Open had to be pleased with the attendance spike he generated.

“I noticed a lot of people were out here to see him play,” McNealy said. “Everyone in the locker room would love to see him play on the weekend.”

For Romo to do so, he knows that he’ll have to overcome adversity at some point during Friday’s second round and hopes he handles it as well as he did en route to his par-breaking effort on Thursday. In searching for the proper sports analogy to use, Romo landed appropriately enough with a football reference.

“It’s just the first quarter,” he said.

Romo has now posted scores of 77-82-79-80-76-74-70 in PGA Tour events.

On Friday, he’ll be grouped with Hossler and Gellerman again. They’ll tee off the 1st hole at 4:25 p.m. ET.

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