Bozzelli leads, Kizzire lurks after Round 1 at CareerBuilder
January 19, 2017
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM
Phil's return, Bozzelli's rise & a chip-in bonanzaIn The Takeaway, Teryn Schaefer recaps Round 1 of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where Phil Mickelson made a strong return from the break, rookie Dominic Bozzelli took the lead and there were plenty of good shots to go around.
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Notes and observations from Thursday’s opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge in California, where Dominic Bozzelli leads by one at 8 under.
For more on what transpired during the first round, check out the Daily Wrap-up.
GOING LOW ON A THURSDAY
The name of the game at the CareerBuilder Challenge is to go low — and then keep going. Despite the fact that players have to contend with three different courses over the first three days, the PGA TOUR stop in Palm Springs typically produces one of the lowest winning scores each season.
This year appears to be no different.
Dominic Bozzelli, who's making his first start at the CareerBuilder Challenge, led the way on Thursday, carding six birdies and an eagle en route to an 8-under 64 that was good enough for his first clubhouse lead as a PGA TOUR rookie.
The round was highlighted by a 113-yard eagle hole-out on the 14th — his fifth hole of the day — that jumpstarted his round.
"That definitely got things going for sure," said Bozzelli, who finished 7th on the Web.com Tour last season. "I was trying to control the spin a little bit, could have been a 50-degree, but I went with kind of knocking down a pitching wedge. It took a couple bounces and came in the back door."
Of course, Bozzelli wasn't the only player who went low on Thursday. Four players finished the day one behind Bozzelli at 7 under, including Jhonattan Vegas, who won the 2011 CareerBuilder Challenge in just his second start as a TOUR member.
"Obviously, there are a lot of good memories here," Vegas said. "Second tournament as a TOUR player, having a win here in Palm Springs. And every time I get here, I see the mountains, a lot of good memories come to my mind."
Shot of the Day
Dominic Bozzelli's eagle hole-out is the Shot of the Day
MICKELSON FINDS FORM IN RETURN
Phil Mickelson wasn't sure how Thursday would go at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Coming off a three-month layoff that saw him undergo two separate sports hernia surgeries, Mickelson admitted he wasn't sure where his game was going into his return to competition.
“I feel good and I want to play,” said Mickelson. “I don’t know where my game is, but I figure the only way to find out is to play.”
Only a week removed from hitting his first golf ball since the initial procedure on Oct. 12, Mickelson showed no signs of rust at La Quinta Country Club, notching four birdies in his first nine holes on the way to a opening-round 68.
"It was a really great day for me because I scored so much better than I played," Mickelson said. "And when I finally did hit some good shots I ended up close and made some birdies."
Despite having little time to test new equipment, Mickelson still made a few changes to his setup, inserting Callaway's Great Big Bertha Epic driver and fairway woods. He noted after the round that while he liked the new technology, he would likely shelve the driver for at least one week.
"I'm going to take a week off from [the driver] and then go back to it," Mickelson said, "because I want to make sure that my game is set from last year. So going forward these next three days, the work that we have to put in, as far as trying to change the muscles sequential firing or like my lower body work with the driver, I think it's going to start paying off pretty soon."
CALL OF THE DAY
Free play-by-play coverage of the second round streams from noon - 6 p.m. ET Friday on PGATOUR.COM
SWAFFORD AT HOME IN THE DESERT
Hudson Swafford went to the University of Georgia and currently resides in Sea Island, but for the last four years, he and his wife have traveled across the country to the Hideaway Golf Club in La Quinta to prepare for the upcoming season.
"My wife and I have rented the same house for four years at the Hideaway and love it there," Swafford said. "They welcome us with open arms. And usually you come out here to enjoy the good weather and the CareerBuilder."
Getting acclimated to the courses and the area seems to be paying dividends this year.
Swafford, who finished T13 last week at the Sony Open in Hawaii, continued his strong play with a 65 at La Quinta Country Club that included eight birdies, with five of them coming in a six-hole stretch on Nos. 4-9.
Swafford attributed his strong start to the season to a practice session he had with instructor Scott Hamilton prior to his temporary move to California at the beginning of the year.
"We were just trying to get the club a little more on plane than laid off," Swafford said. "It just kind of clicked and registered really nicely. I had a great week out in Palm Springs, saw a lot of nice shots, saw some good scoring, finally, for the off break and just kind of rolled into Sony. Just seeing it carryover to this week is nice."
BEST OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Toughest day I've ever had on a golf course but I survived. And yes I'm humble bragging. Now laugh at this picture pic.twitter.com/qv7PbPZD3r— max homa (@maxhoma23) January 20, 2017
Golf is hard. pic.twitter.com/CMlCr39klZ— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 19, 2017