HOLD­ING HIS OWN

CURRY’S PRO DE­BUT,

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - KEVIN SPAIN, USA TO­DAY USA TO­DAY

Mak­ing his de­but in a pro golf tour­na­ment, Golden State War­riors guard Stephen Curry might not have been as good as he is as an NBA player, but as an am­a­teur golfer, he was more than im­pres­sive.

Curry shot a 4-over-par 74 in the first round of the El­lie Mae Clas­sic at TPC San Fran­cisco Bay at Stone­brae, a Web.com Tour event.

He said the hard­est part was just get­ting it started — and he did hit a shot into the cup holder of a golf cart on his first shot — but then he set­tled down and played a solid round.

“It was an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” Curry told re­porters af­ter the round. “I’ve been look­ing for­ward to this ever since I found out and to fi­nally hit my first shot in tour­na­ment play was a re­ally, re­ally ner­vous mo­ment, but it was ev­ery­thing I hoped for. If you told me I was go­ing to shoot 74 go­ing into the first round, I would take that all day, ev­ery day. “I’m happy with it. Ob­vi­ously as a com­peti­tor, you feel like you can al­ways play bet­ter. So hope­fully I can do that to­mor­row.”

Curry beat one of the pros in his group. Sam Ry­der, who won the Pin­na­cle Bank Cham­pi­onship two weeks ago, shot a 75. Curry’s other play­ing part­ner, Stephan Jaeger, shot 67. In the first round last year, Jaeger shot a 58 on his way to his first pro win.

“I was re­ally im­pressed with his short game,” Jaeger said. “He has re­ally good touch around the greens. I think that’s where most am­a­teurs aren’t as good as the pros. I tell you what, he was hit­ting re­ally good chips. Yeah, you can see he doesn’t play ev­ery day — we play ev­ery day. He beat his un­der in Ve­gas by three. “Seventy-four is great.”

Curry is a 2-hand­i­cap and re­ceived a spon­sor’s in­vite for the tour­na­ment. He fin­ished fourth in the Amer­i­can Cen­tury Cham­pi­onship in Lake Ta­hoe in July, at the pro-am level.

He came into the tour­na­ment say­ing he was “re­al­is­tic” about his chances, but was solid through­out the day.

“As soon as he said my name on the first tee, I could barely take my hands out of my pocket,” Curry said. “I tried to take a deep breath, but still there wasn’t any­thing I could do to get my­self pre­pared for that mo­ment. But af­ter the third or fourth hole, it was golf as nor­mal.”

He started on the back nine and bo­geyed three of his first five holes be­fore get­ting a birdie on No. 15. He got pars on the next three, bo­geyed No. 2 and birdied No. 3. His worst hole was a dou­ble-bo­gey on No. 5, but then he birdied the par-3 No. 6. He had a cou­ple of pars be­fore scor­ing a bo­gey on his fi­nal hole, No. 9.

ERIC RISBERG, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Stephen Curry re­acts af­ter miss­ing a birdie putt on the eighth hole in the Web.com Tour’s El­lie Mae Clas­sic.

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