Steady Romero leads in Puerto Rico
February 21, 2019
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
Andres Romero leads with 66 at Puerto Rico
RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico – On a day with unpredictable, swirling winds it was the steady play of Andres Romero that leads the way after the first round of the Puerto Rico Open.
Romero, a one-time PGA TOUR winner, fired a 6-under-par 66 at the Coco Beach Golf Club Thursday.
The Puerto Rico Open is Romero’s third PGA TOUR start of the 2018-19 season. He finished T-26 at the Sanderson Farms Championship and missed the cut at The RSM Classic. Through a translator, he said he has been playing well for a while and was happy to see everything click Thursday.
“Mainly it was my putting that was letting me down lately and today was very good,” he said. ”It gives me a lot of confidence for the whole game.”
With winds gusting up to 30 mph and intermittent rain falling through Thursday, Romero said he embraced the difficult conditions.
“It was very tough for everyone, not only for (me),” said Romero. “Had to think a lot more than a regular round. For example (I) hit a 6-iron from 150 yards on No. 15. But was playing well and feeling confident, so that helped a lot.”
Romero leads by one over Sepp Straka, a rookie on the PGA TOUR this season. Straka earned his TOUR card via Web.com Tour Finals in 2018 and his best result so far came at last month’s Farmers Insurance Open, where he finished T-13.
Straka is the first-ever golfer from Austria to hold PGA TOUR status and he said he’s been feeling a lot more comfortable as the weeks have gone on.
He was steady Thursday in Puerto Rico, making six birdies and one bogey. He said Thursday’s 67 was a continuation of some good play of late.
“I feel like my game has been pretty good for a couple weeks,” he said. I had a terrible week of scoring at Pebble, but I felt like my game was pretty good, ever since Torrey, really. I played well out there. And ever since then, I have hit the ball pretty nice.”
Behind Romero and Straka is a group of nine golfers at 4-under that includes Ben Crane, Ollie Schniederjans, Roberto Castro, Martin Piller, Roberto Diaz, Joey Garber, Nate Lashley, Alex Kang, and David Hearn.
Hearn has never finished outside the top-25 in the four times he’s played this event and said given his position in last year’s FedExCup standings he’s hopeful for a good week to give him some confidence.
“Good starts are always a good way to go about it,” said Hearn. “I feel like my game's been really close. I'm really close to putting together some consistent golf, so hopefully next three days, just more of what I just saw today.”