NBA’s Curry nets 74 – on course, not court

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - Eric Ris­berg, The As­so­ci­ated Press By The As­so­ci­ated Press

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.

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