Perez: 65-68 & T5th Going Into Weekend

Pat Perez rocked the Marty McFly-style sleeveless vest for an early-round tee time on Friday, but the frigid desert temperatures didn’t cool off the ultra-hot play.

On the heels of a T2nd place finish at Torrey Pines last Sunday, Perez enters this weekend T5th at the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale.

Coming off a blazing opening-round 65, Perez followed up with a 68 on Friday and is again in good position with Saturday on the horizon.

Perez had a rough start, with bogeys on the par-four tenth and par-three twelfth, before settling in with back-to-back pars. From there, a birdie-barrage as Perez picked up four of five on #15, #17, #18 and #1.

After a par on #2, Perez birdied the par-five third and went par-bogey-birdie over the next three. He closed the day with three straight pars, shooting three-under on the day.

On Thursday, a one-over round seven holes in before an onslaught of birdies—five straight and seven of nine—en route to an opening round 65.

Saturday’s tee time is 10:50 a.m. PT and Perez is paired with Hideki Matsuyama and Harris English. The group will go off of #1 at TPC Scottsdale.

Follow the live leaderboard, PP’s scorecard and Shot Tracker all weekend from TPC Scottsdale.

Perez Gets Some Ink In USA Today

Steve DiMeglio of USA Today did a write-up on Pat Perez after an opening round 65 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Thursday at TPC Scottsdale:

“Pat Perez Throws Party, Then Joins Open Under-Par Party”
by Steve DiMeglio, USA Today Sports

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — To prepare for the revelry of the Greatest Show on Grass, otherwise known as the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Pat Perez threw a big party at his home near TPC Scottsdale on Tuesday.

He did so again on Thursday, probably will Saturday, too.

That’s just Perez’s way. His doors are always open even when he’s despondent, as he was after falling one stroke short in last week’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, where he worked as a kid. And throwing a party this week only seems natural since the Phoenix Open is the largest party on the PGA Tour, where an expected 525,000 will scream, cheer, boo, suntan, kick back — and kick back a few alcoholic beverages.

“I’m not a guy that sits by himself in the dark and watches Golf Channel,” Perez said after firing a 6-under-par 65 in Thursday’s first round of the Phoenix Open. “I’ve always got sports on. I’ve got people always going in and out of the house. Just always been that way for me. It’s not a distraction. I get totally away from everything.

“I just love having all my buddies around and everything.”

That’s the general feeling at TPC Scottsdale, where the weekend party will include celebrations of distance and red numbers. With the ball soaring in the heat of the Valley of the Sun on a course that favors bombers, par isn’t exactly coveted. Last year, Phil Mickelson won with a score of 28 under. That might be surpassed if the first round is an indication.

Just check the top of the leaderboard.

“Perez Stays Hot In Phoenix”

Some solid ink from Brian Wacker at on Thursday afternoon after Pat Perez went six-under for an opening-round 65 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale:

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Pat Perez says people still bring up his meltdown from 12 years ago at Pebble Beach, where he was in contention on the back nine until a couple of mental blunders that led to him tomahawking a club into the ground multiple times.

“That was my fourth event ever,” he said. “That’s who I was then. I’m not that now.

“When I hit bad shots, now instead of just getting mad, I actually know why the shot was bad. Now I will go and actually reflect on what caused that. I’m trying to teach myself while I’m playing now.”

Perez didn’t have many bad ones on Thursday, shooting a 6-under 65 to put him one back in the opening round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

He made just one bogey—on the par-5 third—before bouncing back with seven birdies in a nine-hole stretch, including five in a row in the middle of his round.

This also marks the second straight week that Perez finds himself in contention.

He had a chance to win Sunday at Torrey Pines until a couple of bogeys on the back nine, including one on the par-3 16th. He shot 74 and tumbled into a tie for 21st.

Perez admitted he had trouble sleeping that night—upset that he lost—but the parties following his hometown event continued and carried over to this week in Scottsdale, where he played in college.

All the while he tried to pull the positives from the experience. An offseason of change—new coach, new equipment, new fiancee—seem to have helped.

“I should have had a chance to birdie that hole to win the tournament,” Perez said. “But I was also extremely pleased at how I could take some changes like that and play that golf course and be in contention late Sunday.

“Whatever happens, you just move forward from it and try not to make the mistake again or just learn from it or just basically move on. That’s what I’m trying to do with a lot of things: just move on from things.”

So far, it’s working.

In three starts in 2014, Perez has missed just one cut, finished in the top 10 in another, and has had a chance to win two other times, including this week.

“I got tired of being tired of being tired,” he said. “I’m just at a different point in my life. I’m at peace now. That guy, that kid at 24 is kind of gone now.”

Perez’ Ride Talk Of The Tourney

The Golf Channel’s Jason Sobel did a little write-up on the little whip Pat Perez is pushing around Scottsdale this week for the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale. Check it out:

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — After an opening-round 6-under 65 here in his adopted hometown, Pat Perez spoke about recent swing improvements and an increased fitness regimen and working on his anger management.

But the highlight came when he talked about his new car.

“That thing is nice,” he said with a smile. “It’s a Toyota Scion iQ. And if you saw one go down the street, you would laugh.”

It’s been hard to miss to miss this week, parked in the final spot nearest the course entrance, maybe half the size of a normal car. Black and adorned with decals from Arizona State and Callaway, the car has been Perez’s mode of transport between his nearby home and the course all week.

“It’s like driving a UFO,” he continued. “You cannot believe the attention that thing gets. It’s incredible. It’s as long as the table. You see this thing go by, they don’t know what it is. It’s so cool, it’s so fun to drive, especially when it’s nice weather like this.

“The tail folds down, and there is a rack that was built that goes on either side. And the rack comes out, and you can put two sets of clubs on the back and you can drive it on the fairways because it’s lighter than a mower.”

Perez: Some Torrey Pines Ink At

Jim McCabe had a solid write-up at on Sunday after Pat Perez wrapped the Farmers Insurance Open with a T2nd finish at Torrey Pines:

SAN DIEGO – As he stood to the side of the scoring area behind the 18th green Sunday afternoon, Tony Perez wore a big smile. Inside, he probably ached, but he was looking at the big picture. “He played great. He’s got his head on straight. He’s going to win a few times this year,” said Tony Perez.

For years, he’s been the official starter at the first tee of this Farmers Insurance Open, but for even longer he’s been Pat Perez’s father.

And on this day, he was never any prouder of his son.

Minutes later, Tony Perez stepped aside because Pat had come out of the scoring house. He held a cold soft drink, took a deep breath, and prepared himself for what he knew was coming: Questions as to why he didn’t try and reach the final green in two and try to make eagle to tie?

Pat Perez – his round of 2-under 70 for an 8-under 280 total in the books – was firm in his conviction.

“I couldn’t make (eagle) on my number,” he said, a reference to the 245 yards he had from the center of the fairway.

He was 7 under and knew that Scott Stallings was already in at 9 under. But Perez also knew that the two clubs that he could have hit in this situation weren’t the answer. “I would have hit 3-wood over the green and my hybrid would have been in the water,” he said.

He chose to lay up to about 90 yards and attack with a wedge. He felt if he hit it hard beyond the flagstick and let it spin off the slope, a three was possible. “But it didn’t spin enough,” said Perez, who hit a splendid shot.

The birdie putt from just inside of 3 feet did get him to 8 under and a five-way tie for second, but this one stung. A lot.

“There’s great, and bad,” he said, “because this is the one I want to win more than anything in the world.”

Born and raised in the area, his game honed right here at Torrey Pines, Perez had a strong and vocal following all week. And as he answered the painful questions, the crowd stayed loyal, cheering him all the more.

“When I woke up this morning, I really thought I was going to get it done,” said Perez, playing for the 13th time in front of his hometown fans at this tournament. He was T-6 in 2005 and has been inside the top 25 each of the last three years, but this was his best chance to win a tournament that is his Masters or U.S. Open.

“I thought today was my day.”

Tied at several points during the day, Perez stumbled at the par-3 16th when he missed the green just to the left, then failed to make a 12-footer for par. Undaunted, he got aggressive at the 17th and thought he had made a 10-footer to get back into a tie. But somehow his putt stayed out, and when Stallings one group ahead made his birdie at 18, Perez knew what he had to do.

He had to make eagle.

But he insisted he just couldn’t have done it by going for the green from 245 yards. Perez’s caddie, Mike Hartford, suggested that if they were 10-15 yards closer, they could have gone at it with a hybrid; or if they were 10-15 yards further back, a 3-wood would have been the club.

But 245? Perez shook his head once again. Bad number, he said.

“But a great week,” said Tony Perez.

PP Takes The Party To Samurai In Solana Beach

Pat Perez always told Charlie Song, owner of Samurai Japanese Restaurant in Solana Beach, to get the spot ready if and when the San Diego native took home the title at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

Perez scrapped his way to a T2nd finish at this year’s event, which proved good enough for a celebration at “The Rai”—where Perez, friends and family have been frequenting for decades.

Song opened his doors early and closed the bar area for an impromptu private party in honor of Team Perez, where a few dozen of PP’s best were in the house.

Here’s to a great week in San Diego and a hearty thanks to all the friends and family members who hiked Torrey, rooting on Double P the past four days—and thanks to Samurai for providing the venue for some post-round hang-time.

Phoenix-bound and ready for some action at TPC Scottsdale…

Perez Finishes T2nd At Farmers Insurance Open

Pat Perez earned a hard-fought T2nd finish on Sunday at this year’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego. Perez has oft referred to the event as a fifth major and he chased down a victory as if that were the case.

Two off the lead when the day began, Perez bogeyed the par-four number two, but responded with clutch birdies on the par-four fourth, par-five sixth and par-five ninth. Two under for the day at the turn, Perez bogeyed the par-three eleventh but got it back with a birdie on the par-five thirteenth.

Sixteen and seventeen proved to be the day’s most-pivotal holes for Perez and proving to be difference-makers in an even where one stroke separated the eventual winner from a handful of contenders tied for second.

Perez’s tee shot on the par-three sixteenth ended up in the rough. After chipping onto the green, Perez was left with an 11’4″ birdie putt which came up two inches short. On seventeen, a monster 310-yard drive had Perez in position to make something happen, but a 10’7″ birdie putt on his third shot missed, leaving Perez with a shot at par.

With the leader in the clubhouse at nine-under, Perez needed an eagle to force a playoff, but with his tee shot 244 yards from the green, the San Diego native was forced to lay up.

“I knew I had to make three, but I couldn’t make three from my number,” Perez said, regarding his decision. “I’m either going to hit it in the water with a rescue (club). I’m going to hit 3-wood over the green. It wasn’t going to be an easy three, let’s put it that way.”

Perez went on to birdie eighteen, bringing him to eight-under on the event and put him in a five-way tie for second place. The finish marked the second top 10 of the season for Perez and moved him from 57th to 26th in money leaders and from 55th to 27th in FedExCup points three tournaments in.

Next up, the Waste Management Open at home in Phoenix. Tune in all week for the latest from TPC Scottsdale.

Hard Fought 72 Has Perez In Hunt At Torrey

Not a lot of “moving” on Saturday at Torrey Pines in the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open, but staying put was Saturday’s version of going low.

Pat Perez fired an even-par 72 on a South Course under conditions comparable to the U.S. Open held in San Diego back in 2008. Torrey Pines chewed up some of the game’s best on Saturday.

Tiger Woods and Stewart Cink each shot 79, while Jordan Spieth and Nicolas Colsaerts—who took turns atop the leaderboard—both shot 75.

Perez opened with back-to-back pars, but found trouble on the par-three third, carding his first bogey of the day. He got one back with a birdie on the par-five sixth, but a bogey on nine had Perez back to even at the turn.

Three straight pars kept Perez one-over, but a bogey on the par-five thirteenth had him two-up on the day and down to four under for the first time since a bogey on fourteen on Friday.

Like he did the past two days, Perez found a way to close strong. Thursday’s round had three straight birdies over the final five holes, while back-to-back birdies closed out round two on the North Course.

On Saturday, a seven-foot birdie on the par-four fifteenth, followed by another on eighteen—set up by a great sand shot, leaving Perez a one-and-a-half footer to get it back to even on the day.

Perez remains six-under on the event and enters the final round T4th and two off the lead. Sunday’s tee time is 10:15 a.m. PT, going off No. 1 and paired with Morgan Hoffmann and Rory Sabbatini.

Follow the live leaderboard, PP’s scorecard and ShotTracker all day from Torrey Pines and let’s see if Double P can bring home his second career victory.

Perez T6th Entering Weekend At Torrey Pines

Pat Perez scrapped his way to a second round 71 at Torrey Pines and enters the weekend T6th at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego. Perez fired Thursday’s low round on the treacherous South Course, going five-under for a hard-earned 67.

Friday’s round opened with back-to-back birdies on the par-five first and par-four second, but the day would prove to be a battle.

After a tee shot on the par-four fourth went left, Perez took a drop and scrapped his way to a quality bogey. A hole later, a clutch birdie putt all but erased the previous hole’s set-back.

Another bogey followed on the par-three sixth, but Perez stayed composed and netted three straight pars and hit the turn one-under on the day.

The tenth resulted in another par, but Perez bogeyed the par-four eleventh and was back to even. Pars on twelve and thirteen were followed by another bogey on fourteen, putting Perez one-over on the day, but a strong finish ensued.

Back-to-back pars on fifteen and sixteen were followed by a clutch birdie putt on the par-three seventeenth and another on the par-five eighteenth, bringing Perez back to one-under for a second round 71.

The field is back on the South Course for the weekend and Perez goes off number one at 9:25 a.m. PT, paired with Russell Knox and Gary Woodland.

Follow the live leaderboard, PP’s scorecard and ShotTracker all week from Torrey Pines.

SD Union-Tribune, “Torrey Kid Rises”

Some great ink from Tod Leonard at the San Diego Union Tribune on Friday morning after Pat Perez fired an opening round 67 on the South Course at Torrey Pines.

Online press is always great, but something about going old school and seeing the action front and center on the front sports page of the long-time hometown newspaper.

by Tod Leonard, San Diego Union Tribune

Pat Perez turned to his left and looked through the glass of the media center door to the Torrey Pines driving range.

What a view, sitting in an interview chair after scoring an opening 5-under-par 67 in the Farmers Insurance Open. That he was the only player among the top 16 on the leaderboard to have done his day’s work on the more demanding South Course made it all the sweeter.

It didn’t matter one bit that Perez was three shots behind leader Stewart Cink. This was a day to revel in for the 37-year-old who grew up in San Diego and worked in high school washing carts and driving the ball picker on the range at Torrey Pines.

Even risking his life at times, Perez recalled with a grin, retrieving balls from the trees on the range’s west side as more hackers’ shots whistled by his head.

“It feels awesome,” said Perez, taking another peek outside. “Every time I come back here I see the picker going, I logged a thousand miles on that range picking that thing and cleaning carts to 11 at night.”

He was never more excited than when the PGA Tour pros came to town.

“I’d steal a lot of those Titleist balls that were on the range. I’d go home and have this huge bucket of balls, never hit them, never played them, you know, just stared at them. I just thought that’s got to be the greatest job in the world. So cool to be here and do that.”

Torrey Pines is where Perez scored the greatest victory of his junior career, beating Tiger Woods when they were 17-year-olds in the Junior World. Actually, Perez smoked his longtime junior buddy by eight shots.

“Best day of my life,” Perez deadpanned.

The two have remained friends who constantly needle each other, though Woods can do some really nice things, too. Perez said that on Thursday morning the world’s top player emailed him with a link to a story regarding some of the swing work Perez was doing.

“Tiger is awesome,” he said.

Perez beat Woods, the tournament’s seven-time champion, by five shots Thursday on the South. Woods was asked if he was surprised by Perez’s score.

“Why?” he said. “He grew up here. This is his home course.”

Well, it used to be his home course. Perez couldn’t wait to play the tournament as a pro, but then in the same year that he got his tour card in 2002 the South was redesigned. He lost all of his advantage, especially on the greens.

In 12 starts at Torrey, he only has one top-10 finish, though he hasn’t been gaining on it in the last three years, placing 20th, 22nd and 21st.

Looking relaxed and satisfied on Thursday, Perez has rarely spoken more optimistically. He has a new swing coach, Joe Mayo, he picked up last fall; he’s working with a new club company, Callaway; and he’s engaged to be married.

He asked Ashley Pendley to marry him on stage at the MGM Grand before a Stevie Nicks concert on New Year’s Eve.

“Everything is just kind of coming together,” Perez said.

That includes his golf game. He’s never been way off track, finishing in the top 100 on the money list in six of the last seven seasons. He’s never lost his tour card, but Perez has won only once, in the 2009 Bob Hope Classic.

Mayo has reached into his head like no other coach. After 30-some years playing, Perez said he finally understands the nature of ball flight and what that means to each swing. Knowing where it’s going sure helps a lot in the game.

Perez feels like he’s only beginning what could be a long, good run that began on the Torrey Pines range.

“I don’t even feel like I’ve played 12 years,” he said. “I feel like I’ve played 12 weeks.”