Daily Wrap-up: Round 1, Valero Texas OpenApril 14, 2011
Staff and wire reports
SAN ANTONIO -- J.J. Henry and former British Open champion Stewart Cink share the Valero Texas Open lead after shooting first-round 5-under 67s on a day the spotlight belonged to Kevin Na's adventure on No. 9.
Na set a PGA TOUR low Thursday with a 16 on the par-4 ninth, chopping his way through a nightmarish hole during an otherwise solid first round. The South Korean-born American was a combined 4 under on the other 17 holes to finish 8-over 80.
Adam Scott, riding the momentum of his runner-up finish at the Masters, began his defense of last year's Texas Open championship strong and was a stroke back. The Australian shot a 68 and was tied with Charley Hoffman, Jhonattan Vegas, Vaughn Taylor and Kevin Chappell.
If it wasn't for No. 9, Na might've been right there with them.
Na watched his first shot on No. 9 veer badly off course. His next stroke wasn't any better. Or the next one. Or the 11 after that.
Or maybe it was 12. Thirteen? Na himself couldn't keep track.
"I got done with the hole and I said (to my caddie), 'I think I made somewhere between a 10 and a 15," Na said. "But I think it's close to a 15."
It was 16.
Na birdied No. 18 to go 4 under on the other 17 holes. But so dreadful was No. 9 that the score was adjusted three times -- first a 14, then 15, and finally, following a lengthy review of a video replay before signing his scorecard, it changed yet again to a 16.
The worst single-hole score at a PGA TOUR event belongs to John Daly, who had an 18 on the par-5 sixth hole at Bay Hill in 1998. Ray Ainsley took 19 shots on the par-4 16th hole at Cherry Hills in the 1938 U.S. Open.
Scott and countryman Geoff Ogilvy, who finished the round two strokes back at 3 under, were in the group behind Na. They watched and waited to tee off as the 27-year-old hacked, whiffed and bumbled his way through a nearly 20-minute ordeal.
Shot of the Day
Brendan Steele chips in for birdie on the par-4 9th hole.
"There's some rocks in there and some pretty nasty stuff," Ogilvy said of the 474-yard ninth. "You don't have to do a whole lot wrong to have three or four attempts to try and get it out. It becomes a comedy of errors sometimes."
Even Na was smiling by the time he tapped in a 6-footer on the green.
"It's all a blur," Na said.
Here's what he does remember: his tee shot that sailed into the woods, where Na eventually found the ball. He called it unplayable and teed off again, but not with better results. Along the way he whiffed one stroke, ricocheted another off his inner thigh, tried two shots left-handed and watched the ball barely sputter forward on another stroke.
All while still in the woods.
"One bad hole can basically shoot you out of the tournament," Na said. "That's what I just did."
Having a far better day was Cink, who didn't decide to play at the Texas Open until he missed the cut at the Masters. He signed up 2 1/2 hours after the deadline.
The 2009 British Open winner was glad he did, shooting a bogey-free first round.
TPC San Antonio: Thursday EASIEST HOLE TOUGHEST HOLE The par-5 14th hole was the easiest with a Thursday scoring average of 4.778.
EAGLES: 0 BIRDIES: 49 PARS: 79 BOGEYS: 15 OTHER: 1
The par-4 9th hole was the toughest with a Thursday scoring average of 4.326.
EAGLES: 0 BIRDIES: 18 PARS: 83
BOGEYS: 33 OTHERS: 10
About the leaders • Cink is making his first start at the Valero Texas Open since 2003. He has three top 20s in four previous starts in San Antonio. • Cink last held a first-round lead/co-lead at the 2006 Bank of America Colonial (finished T4). This is Cink's seventh career first-round lead/co-lead. The only first-round lead/co-lead that he converted into victory was at the 2004 WGC-NEC Invitational. • Cink is looking for his first top 10 of the season. • Henry is looking for his 11th consecutive made cut of the season this week. Henry's last missed cut was his last event of 2010 at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Steve Stricker leads the TOUR with 30 consecutive made cuts. • This is Henry's fifth career first-round lead/co-lead on TOUR. His last first-round lead/co-lead was at the 2008 Arnold Palmer Invitational. He has not converted a first-round lead into victory. • Henry missed the cut at the 2010 Valero Texas Open, his only missed cut at this event in 10 previous starts. He has four top 10s in San Antonio, including a T2 in 2001.
"I didn't really feel like I would go forward by taking another week off," Cink said. "So I decided to add this one and just, you know, get right back to it instead of missing the cut at a major for another week."