Can Adam Scott, fresh off contending in the Masters, defend his title at the Valero Texas Open? Or will J.J. Henry, already off to a fast start at 5 under through his first 15 holes, eventually go on to win? Share your thoughts on the opening round here.
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am has tightened up considerably on a spectacular and sunny day on the Monterey Peninsula.
Steve Marino has bogeyed two of his first three holes while D.A. Points has made birdies in Nos. 1 and 2 at Pebble Beach so they are tied at 11 under.
Points, who is playing with comedian Bill Murray, made an 18-footer at No. 1 and two-putted from 33 feet on the par-5 second. Marino is playing Monterey Peninsula Country Club, which is generally regarded as the easiest of the three venues.
Bryce Molder, who started on the back nine at Spyglass Hill, had closed to within a shot after a birdie and eagle on his first two holes but he has just made a double bogey at No. 13. So now he’s tied for third with Jimmy Walker, Alex Cejka, Bill Lunde, J.J. Henry and Keegan Bradley at 8 under.
The last time J.J. Henry played golf? The Deutsche Bank Championship in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup. That’s a lot of time off, especially for a guy in Henry who had just two top-10s in 2010.
“I really felt refreshed to start this year,” said Henry, who added that he took the extra time off because his son, Connor, started school in the fall. “I’m excited about 2011. I really feel comfortable, confident, and hit a lot of good shots out there today. It was nice to get off to the start I did.”
Needing just 23 putts was one reason to be excited. Holing out for eagle on the first hole was another.
“I had a perfect number with a wedge and you're a little nervous, tight, haven't played a tournament in four months and it's a pretty tight pin and hit this perfect shot that never left the flag and right in the middle of the hole,” Henry said.
As for the fast start to his year, Henry credits the work he put in with Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer, who he’s been working with for over a year now.
“I’ve just been really hitting the ball really well,” Henry said. “Probably the best of my career actually. I really feel like my ball striking is really good right now.
“I'm in a great spot in my life, I'm 35 now, I feel like I'm kind of hopefully coming into my own as a player, I've had a chance to win and play in a Ryder Cup, but I want to really try to focus on this next stage of my career and being 35 I feel like, hopefully, my best golf is still ahead of me.”
One other thing Henry has in front of him: Watching Jerry Kelly wear the TCU mascot outfit during this year’s Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. The two had a bet on this year’s Rose Bowl game between Henry’s alma mater, TCU, and Kelly’s beloved Wisconsin Badgers.
The Horned Frogs won the game and finished their season perfect, and Wednesday that’s exactly the kind of start Henry got off to. -- Brian Wacker
One way to get to the top of the leaderboard: Take just 23 putts. That’s what J.J. Henry took Wednesday in the opening round at the Bob Hope Classic, where he shot an 8-under 64 to take the early lead.
Twice, Henry had stretches of three straight birdies. He also had just one bogey.
One shot back of Henry, though, is Boo Weekley, who also had just one bogey and took 28 putts.
The 64 by Henry, while three strokes shy of his career low, does mark his best start to a tournament since the 2005 FUNAI Classic at Walt Disney World, where he shot 64 in the first round before stumbling to a tie for 32nd.
J.J. Henry has a long way to go to break any kind of scoring record at the Bob Hope Classic, but through his first 14 holes he is 7 under and now in the lead early in the first round.
Twice, Henry has had stretches of three straight birdies. It also helped that he eagled the par-4 first hole on the Nicklaus Course to start his round.
The big reason Henry’s faring so well so far? His putting. He’s averaging under 1.5 putts per green in regulation so far.
While Henry, who still has just one career win on the PGA TOUR, he has shown flashes of an ability to go low. Last year, for example, Henry shot a final-round 63 at the Turning Stone Resort Championship, where he finished second.
In 2006, Henry shot his career low, a 61 in the second round of the FBR Open.
Can he go that low in Wednesday’s opening round? Click here to follow live.
It’s moving day at the Travelers Championship and that’s just what J.J. Henry did – move up the leaderboard. Henry, who won this tournament in 2006, shot a 6-under 64 to climb into a tie for seventh. The bad news is, he probably won’t be that high on the leaderboard by the time the day is over. Still, it leaves the Connecticut native in good shape with one round to play.
Henry has played progressively better this week, opening with a 71 before a 67 on Friday and the seven-birdie, one bogey-effort Saturday. The biggest difference? Henry finally got his putter rolling, taking 27 putts (he took 31 and 32 the last two rounds).
Other players going low Saturday morning: Retief Goosen and Chad Campbell (both 5 under through 14 holes), and Shaun Micheel (4 under through 12). -- Brian Wacker
J.J. Henry could complete his personal "grand slam" at Colonial this week.
The 35-year-old Henry was born in Fairfield, Conn., and grew up to make the 2006 Buick Championship at TPC River Highlands his first PGA TOUR victory.
Henry went to college at Texas Christian, which is located within walking distance of Hogan's Alley. He played with the Horned Frogs’ football coach, Gary Patterson in Wednesday’s pro-am, too.
The good vibes must have rubbed off on Henry. He's currently 4 under through 11 holes at Colonial and three strokes off the lead.
In eight starts at the Crowne Plaza Invitational, Henry's best finish is last year’s tie for 22nd when he closed with a career-best 66 at Colonial. Prior to Thursday, Henry only had six rounds in the 60s in 24 tries -- and three of them came last year.