NBA’s Curry nets 74 – on course, not court
HAYWARD, CALIF.» Stephen Curry pumped his right fist, raised his arms in the air with club in hand and gave a firm shoulder bump to caddie Jonnie West, his golf partner on road trips with the Golden State Warriors.
After three bogeys in five holes of his professional golf debut, a birdie was worthy of celebration.
There was the animated, confident Steph that NBA fans know so well, the two-time league MVP finally feeling it and making the tough shots on the challenging course at TPC Stonebrae while competing in a tournament one step below the PGA Tour.
With a bogey on the last hole, he had a respectable 4-over 74.
“It was an amazing experience, I’ve been looking forward to this 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,” Curry said. “If you told me I was going to shoot 74 going into the first round, I’d take that all day, every day. I’m pretty happy with it.”
Curry drew 300-plus fans to the Web.com Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic, where Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice has played a few times.
Nicholas Thompson held a one-shot lead with a 63. The top 65 and ties from the 156player field will make the cut. Curry, playing on a sponsor exemption and one of three amateurs in the field, was outside the top 140 and five shots below the cut line as the first round was headed for a conclusion.
McIlroy, Spieth in the early hunt.
Rory McIlroy had his best friend on the bag and his best start on American soil in 18 months. For Jordan Spieth, it was more of the same with two long putts and another comment filled with bravado directed at his caddie.
Both of them opened with a 3-under 67 at the Bridgestone Invitational, leaving them two shots behind Thomas Pieters of Belgium.
Pieters, playing only for the sixth time since he challenged briefly at the Masters this year, sank a 30-foot birdie putt on his final hole at Firestone to finish a day of good scoring with a one-shot lead over Russell Knox.
The opening two rounds were moved up to the morning because of a forecast of thunderstorms in the afternoon.
McIlroy split with J.P. Fitzgerald, his caddie of nine years, after the British Open. He decided to use Harry Diamond, who played amateur golf for Ireland and was the best man at McIlroy’s wedding, for the Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship next week.
Wie takes lead in Women’s British Open.
Finishing fast after a slow start, Michelle Wie birdied her last three holes for an 8-under 64 for a one-shot lead in the Women’s British Open.
Wie bogeyed the par-5 second hole at Kingsbarns Links, and that was the last of her mistakes. The 27-year-old American shot 30 on the back nine and wound up one shot ahead of I.K. Kim of South Korea.
Lindy Duncan was another shot behind at 66, with Lexi Thompson among those at 67.
Wie, showing no sign of the neck spasms that forced her to withdraw from last month’s U.S Women’s Open, posted nine birdies during a morning round played in almost perfect weather on the eastern coast.
Huh leads in Stableford event.