Hero World Challenge: Patrick Cantlay still ‘figuring out where to leave the ball’ after flawless round

Patrick Cantlay, the World No. 20 American, fired seven birdies en route to a seven-under 65 in the first round at the Albany Golf Course.

Patrick Cantlay... "I’m still figuring out where to leave the golf ball, especially on the par-5s." Photo: Special Arrangement

Only two weeks ago, Patrick Cantlay learnt he was made part of the elite 18-man field here for the USD 3.5 million Hero World Challenge.

In spite of being a first-timer at the Albany Golf Course, the American produced a flawless first-round seven-under 65 without showing any sign of after-effects of the recent surgeries for deviated septum and sinus. On Thursday, the World No. 20 played as though he knew the course like the back of his hand. In fact, Cantlay practised on just over 10 holes before Wednesday’s pro-am round before emerging as the co-leader on Day One.

Birdies galore

What’s more, Cantlay has pledged USD 500 dollars for every birdie he makes this week towards donations that go to those affected by the recent California wildfires. For a start, he fired seven birdies!

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But Cantlay was candid about what he thought of the course. “I’m still figuring out where to leave the golf ball, especially on the par-5s. You have to chip to the green out of that grainy Bermuda, its touch.”

Fine-tuning

Joint-leader Patrick Reed sounded pleased with his effort. “I felt like I was hitting the ball pretty solid. I was able to get my coach down in town this week and fine-tuned some things.”

Tiger Woods was far from his best on Thursday. Photo: AP

 

On his part, Tiger Woods was understandably disappointed with a 73. “I didn’t quite feel comfortable with my game today even though I drove it great. It was definitely reflective in my scoring today, I didn’t quite feel comfortable and just didn’t quite hit the ball close enough or give myself a lot of looks at it.”

‘Under the weather’

About the triple-bogey that set him back, Tiger said, “I had a little patch right behind the golf ball and I tried to toe it in there in trying to make sure I actually hit it long. I was trying to play for like a 10-12-footer coming back and it just didn’t come off and it blew back in the (water) hazard.”

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When reminded of his first-round 69 last November and asked whether he lacked the same intensity today, Tiger said, “I wouldn’t say it’s intensity, I just don’t have the same energy. That’s just from being under the weather like I have been. I’ve just been rundown and I’m tired and been trying to catch up with it. You know, at least I’m just not coughing anymore, which is nice.”