Perez: Opening Round 70 At Phoenix Open

Pat Perez fired an opening-round 70 at the Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on Thursday, knocking down some tough par putts and fighting back from an early deficit. Perez is currently T42nd and six strokes off the lead. 

After finding the water on the par-three twelfth, Perez took a drop, got an unfavorable lie, chipped up to within 11 feet and knocked down the bogey putt. Down one after three, Perez bounced back with a clutch birdie on the par-five thirteenth. 

From there, thirteen consecutive birdies for Perez before closing strong with the day’s second birdie on the par-four ninth—set up by a 171-yard second shot to the green, leaving a nine-footer for three. 

In-between birdies, a handful of clutch holes. On the par-three sixteenth—rather subdued on an overcast Thursday morning—Perez landed his tee shot to the right of the green, had a fourteen-footer for birdie and the putt lipped out, leaving a three-incher for par.

The closest Perez came to bogey was on No. 1—a par-four—where a 37-yard second shot made it to the green, leaving a five-footer for four, which Perez dropped.

Perez averaged 285.5 yards in driving distance, 61.11% in greens-in-regulation and 92.86% in driving accuracy. 

Friday’s tee time is currently set for 12:52 p.m., but with opening round play suspended due to darkness and heavy rains rolling into the Scottsdale area Thursday night and expected to continue through Saturday morning, second round tee times are expected to be pushed back. 


 

T30th Finish For Perez At Humana Challenge

Pat Perez had everything going but the putter this week in Palm Springs and the result was a T30th finish at the Humana Challenge.

Perez opened with a solid round of 66 at La Quinta on Thursday, leaving some shots out there but doing enough to go six-under. On Friday, another bogey-free round as Perez put together a four-under 68 at Nicklaus Private. 

Perez went 47 holes without a bogey, before picking up two in a three-hole span—taking place on the back nine at Palmer Private on Saturday. Same was the case in the final round, with the par-three No. 12 resulting in bogeys on both days. 

Going back to the opening round at La Quinta, Perez got off to a solid start with a birdie on the par-four first and after there consecutive pars, went birdie-birdie on back-to-back par-fives—No. 5 and No. 6. Perez then went on to birdie No. 12, No. 15 and No. 17, closing out the 66.

Friday had another quick start—birdie-par-birdie—before a nine-hole drought. During that par-heavy drought, Perez failed to capitalized on several looks at birdies; especially par-fives on No. 4 and No. 8.

Two consecutive days on Palmer Private—where Perez capture the 2009 title—were filled with missed opportunities, as well. A ten-foot birdie putt on the par-four fourth ran wide, though Perez dropped a 31-footer for two on the par-three fifth.

On the par-four eighth, another look at birdie but the 13-foot putt came up short. Again Perez responded—this time with a 23-foot drop-in for three on the par-four ninth. 

Perez got another when birdying the par-five eleventh, but missed an eleven-footer for par on No. 12 and on the par-five fourteenth, whiffed on a two-footer for par.

Both were big time setback on a day when a lot of birdie putts weren’t falling, but Perez did respond with three consecutive pars and a birdie on the par-five eighteenth—highlighted by a great up and down; hitting his third shot 91 feet out of the right green side bunker and leaving it two feet from the jar. 

Seven shots off the lead going into Sunday, a feeling that some mojo had been lost by way of too many missed opportunities over the previous three days. Perez was two down after six—carding birdies on the par-five second and sixth holes—but it was sort lived. 

After three consecutive pars, Perez went bogey-birdie-bogey after the turn, back to one-under with six to play, but got one back on the par-five eighteenth, playing the back-nine even when needing to make a charge. He finished the day averaging 283.5 yards driving distance, 75.93 in driving accuracy percentage nd 69.44 in greens in regulation percentage. 

Next up for Perez, a return to the hometown Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale—where he spent much of the offseason working with Tour pro Steve Elkington, while filming some spots for Elk’s “Rural Golfer” television program. 

 

Tee Times Announced For Humana Challenge

Pat Perez spent Tuesday lending a hand to charity and will officially begin preparations for this year’s Humana Challenge come Wednesday. 

The Madison Club hosted Tuesday’s event with PGA Tour player Ben Crane, while over a dozen other pros successfully came together to raise money for a handful of charities. 

Tee times have been announced for the first three rounds of the Humana Challenge. Perez goes off of No. 1 at La Quinta at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, No. 10 at PGA West (Nicklaus) at 8:30 a.m. on Friday and No. 1 at 10:10 a.m. at PGA West (Palmer). 

Perez is coming off a T17th finish at last week’s Sony Open as is currently 106th in the FedExCup standings.  

Final Round 65 For Perez At Sony Open

Pat Perez might not yet be back to last year’s form—where he left Honolulu with a T8th finish before going on a west coast tear—but T17th at the Sony Open and a Sunday round of 65 could prove to be a tone-setter over the next few weeks.

Perez opened the week 67-68 at Waialae Country Club, before a topsy-turvy round of 70 on Saturday (five birdies, five bogeys). In the final round, the birdie-streak continued, while the mistakes were minimized, en route to a one-bogey round of 65, putting him ten-under on the week. 

Another fast start on Sunday as Perez birdied the par-four tenth. After a 277-yard drive to the right fairway, Perez followed up with a 85-yard shot to the left fairway and chipped in from 15 feet. 

Three consecutive pars followed before the day’s first bogey—where a six-foot par putt sailed wide on the par-four fourteenth, leaving Perez a two-footer for bogey.

From there, birdies on the par-four sixteenth and par-five eighteenth had Perez two-under at the turn.

On sixteen, a 139-yard second shot left Perez an 11-footer for a three, while eighteen was highlighted by a 219-yard second shot to the left fairway, leaving a 23-foot chip-in for eagle. Perez dropped his third shot within a foot and tapped in for four.

After parring one, Perez birdied the par-four second—where a 197-yard second shot left a ten-footer, which found the bottom of the cup. From there, five consecutive pars before the birdie-birdie finish—taking Perez from T30th to T17th. 

Perez bombed his drive 316 yards on the par-four eighth, followed up with a 139-yard shot to the green and rolled in a 26-footer for birdie. On the par-five ninth, a great 217-yard second shot after a 266-yard drive to the left intermediate. Perez then stuck his third shot to within four feet and knocked down his fifth birdie of the afternoon. 

Perez averaged 288.9 yards driving distance on Sunday, 66.67% greens-in-regulation and had a 64.29% driving accuracy percentage. 

Perez played four events during the fall season and is set to play all six west coast events. His T17th finish is his best since finishing T11th at the Valero Texas Open last March. Five events into this season, Perez is current 106th in FedExCup points and has made three cuts. 

Next up, a return to La Qunita for the Humana Challenge which Perez won in 2009 when it was the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.

Perez Five-Under After Two At Sony Open

It was a good round that had the potential to be great, but after last year’s second half slump, Pat Perez appears to be back on a roll and is in position to make a run entering the weekend.

An opening-round 67 was followed up with a two-under 68 on Friday—with Perez four-under after ten, but giving a few strokes back down the stretch.

The day started with a run of five consecutive pars before Perez shook off the early-morning cobwebs and birdied four of the next five holes.

On the par-four sixth, Perez hit his tee shot 292 yards to the right rough, followed up with a 179-yard shot to the left rough and holed out from 83 feet.

After parring number seven, Perez dropped a nine-footer for birdie on the par-four eighth—made possible by a 317-yard drive to the left fairway and a 130-yard second shot that landed on the green. 

Another 300-plus yard drive on the par-five ninth where Perez’s second 195-yard second shot had him in position to knock down a 29-foot eagle that came up a foot short, though he tapped in for four. 

Birdie on the par-four tenth started with a 309-yard drive to the left fairway, a 37-yard second shot to the green and an eight-footer for three, putting Perez at four-under on the day. 

No. 12 brought the day’s first bogey—a par-four, where Perez hit his drive 257 yards to the right intermediate, his second shot 169 yards to the left rough and his third shot 39 feet to the green, leaving a 13-footer for par that rolled past and a two-footer for bogey. 

On the par-four thirteenth, a 316-yard drive to the left rough, a 174-yard second shot to the front left green side bunker and another 13-footer for par, with a one-foot tap-in for five. 

Perez got a stroke back on the par-four fourteenth, sticking his 166-yard second shot to within six feet and knocking down the birdie putt.

After a par on fifteen, Perez picked up his third bogey of the day after his second shot would up in the front left green side bunker and once on the green, needing an 18-footer for par. 

The par-five eighteenth provided one final birdie opportunity, but the six-foot putt ran wide and Perez tapped in for par, finishing two-under in the day when four- or five under looked like a strong reality with eight to play. 

Regardless, Perez looks like he’ll roll into the weekend in the Top 20 and right back in the mix with a strong Saturday round. Third round tee times announced shortly. 

 

Opening Round 67 For Perez At Sony Open

Pat Perez birdied his first and last holes of the day and in between overcame a few rough holes, but finished strong and is five strokes off the lead and three-under after one at the Sony Open. 

Perez started on the back nine and birdied the par-four tenth. After hitting his drive 297 yards to the left fairway, Perez punched his second shot 53 yards and left himself a seven-footer for three.

Back-to-back pars followed before a bogey on the par-four thirteenth—setting up a tough second shot after hitting his drive 267 yards to the right rough. Perez left himself a 21-footer for par, came up short and dropped the three-footer for a five. 

Five consecutive pars followed—where Perez dropped six-foot par putts on No. 15 and No. 17—before a bogey on No. 1 got him back to plus-one on the day; again the result of an errant drive to the left intermediate. 

From there, the tear began as Perez birdied four of the next eight holes en route to an opening round 67.

Perez knocked down a seven-footer for birdie on the par-four second, set up by a stellar 168-yard second shot. On the par-four third, Perez dropped an incredible 22-foot putt for three.

The par-four sixth produced the day’s fourth birdie—with a stellar 172-yard second shot leaving a six-footer for the three. Perez capped it all off with a birdie on the day’s final hole; the par-five ninth. 

After an opening drive 275 yards to the right rough, Perez punched his second shot 212 to the left rough but recovered with a 94-foot third shot that landed on the green and set up a nine-footer for birdie, which fell.

Perez averaged 279.5 yards driving distance, 64.29% driving accuracy percentage and 72.22% regarding greens in regulation.

Friday’s tee time is 7:00 a.m. local, where Perez will go off of No. 1, again paired with Ricky Barnes and Tim Wilkinson.  

 

Nine Questions With PGA Tour Player Pat Perez

Pat Perez is preparing for his fourteenth consecutive season on the PGA Tour and is in Hawai’i for this week’s Sony Open at Waialae Country Club.

As Perez prepares for his first event of the year, he took some time out of his practice round on Tuesday to bring us up to speed and to share some thoughts:

SO, TELL US WHAT YOU’VE BEEN UP TO THIS SHORT OFF-SEASON?

PP: “Planning a wedding—got married December 31st in Scottsdale. I also bought a new house up in Payson (Arizona) that I was trying to get furnished so we can head up there in May.

I plan to be up there for the summer,s getting out of that Scottsdale heat, as it’s a great place to relax, play some golf and decompress. I’m at The Rim, have my own little range and the house backs up to the course. Ideal for practice and putting in work. 

But yeah, outside of that, didn’t too much outside of planning a wedding and working on my game. Ready for the west coast swing, too as this is my favorite stretch of the season.”

REGARDING YOUR NEW COACH DREW STECKEL, WHEN DID YOU START WORKING WITH HIM AND WHAT SPECIFICALLY ARE YOU GUYS WORKING ON?

PP: “I started working with Drew after I missed the cut in Vegas (Shriners Hospital for Children Open). I worked on the range a few hours that Friday afternoon and went back out to TPC Summerlin first thing that Saturday, where I hit balls until dusk. That’s when Drew and I started getting busy.

The main thing for me was my alignment—like today specifically, we worked on my alignment (at Waialae). I tend to aim too far right, which my body doesn’t have to work counterproductive to try and hit it left—and it’s just not correct. Because of that I have to aim a lot further left just to swing right and it’s working. I was hitting it fantastic today an I’m happy with that.

Regarding what we’re working on, there are four points; alignment, wrist angles, follow-through motion and balance—but it all starts with alignment. That’s what we’ve been working on most the last couple days here in Hawai’i.

Drew is fantastic. Calm and cool and he really knows what he’s talking about.”

YOU GOT OFF TO SUCH A BLAZING STARTON THE WEST COAST LAST YEAR. WHERE DID THAT COME FROM AND WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO REPLICATE SOMETHING LIKE THAT AGAIN THIS YEAR?

PP: “I had easy thoughts last year—some easy thoughts on my swing—and I just rode the wave. I also putted really well and am finally starting to really putt well now, which should help me on the west coast again. I just have to hit it in play and make some putts and if so, I think it’ll carry me again.”

YOU’RE ONE OF FEW GUYS WHO PLAYS EVERY WEST COAST EVENT. WHAT IS THE REASONING BEHIND THAT SIX-WEEK STRETCH WITH NO BREAKS?

PP: “Hawai’i is always a no-brainer and a great start—getting out of the cold in Scottsdale. It’s great to come over here and I really love the course at Waialae. From there we go to La Quinta, where I won the Hope (now the Humana) a few years back and again, I love that venue. I’ve been playing out in the desert there going on 25 years, so that one is always a must.

We used to have Torrey (Farmers Insurance) after that—another home event—but now it’s Phoenix this year and I’m home for that event, which I love. Now after that is Torrey, where I grew up, making it another no-brainer for me. Friends and family out there and always an all-around great week.

The Pebble Beach event, I always play with my partner Michael Lund and have a great time with him—and again, how can you pass up on Pebble? The whole event, the scenery, the history and nostalgia of the event—it’s incredible—and then after that, L.A. and Riviera, which is one of the most iconic courses in America.

The main thing for me; it’s real easy travel—each flight is about an hour, tops and I can drive to a couple events. I’ve also got friends and family coming out to pretty much every event—it makes it such an easy stretch for me. Also, right in the middle of that six-week stretch, I get a week at home for Phoenix so I’m really only on the road for about three weeks max during that swing.”

REGARDING THE WEST COAST SWING, WHAT’S YOU’RE FAVORITE TRACK AND WHICH EVENT IS YOUR ALL-AROUND FAVORITE?

PP: “Torrey Pines, by far—the course and the event—the Farmers Open. An absolute no-brainer. Growing up in San Diego, playing Torrey every day, working the range, picking balls, working the cart barn, having friends and family there—it’s my ultimate tournament.

If I only won one more tournament the rest of my career, that would be the one for me. Most guys out here will rattle off majors, but Torrey would be it for me. I had a real shot last year, finishing second … but winning there—my hometown of San Diego—would just be amazing.”

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR DEFINITION OF A SUCCESSFUL 2015 SEASON?

PP: “Success would be winning at least once, as well as playing on the President’s Cup team this year. This is year number fourteen out here and I’m knocking on the door of 40. Lots of goals and things to accomplish and it all starts this week.”

AS A SCOTTSDALE RESIDENT, ANY THOUGHTS ON TIGER WOODS PLAYING THIS YEAR’S PHOENIX OPEN AND WHAT HIS PRESENCE WOULD BRING TO THAT ALREADY-ROWDY EVENT?

PP: “Tiger coming there (to the Phoenix Open) … I really don’t know what his reasons are. I think he’s going to try and play a little more this year, because he hasn’t really played a ton over the past five seasons. That rowdy crowd out there—I don’t know how he’s going to take it. He hasn’t seen anything like that in a long time. It’s going to be like a Ryder Cup on steroids.

Honestly though, there are so many people out there anyways that his coming out there—it’s still not going to take the focus off any other players on No. 16. I don’t really know how much more buzz it’s going to bring to the event as the tournament is already sold out every year and the Thunderbirds do a great job promoting the whole deal.

All that said, I do think it’s cool that at this point he wants to come back out and play an event like that—showing some support for another tournament.”

ANYTHING NEW ON THE IPOD RIGHT NOW? WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY LISTENING TO?

PP: “Waiting on the new Marilyn Manson next week and the new D’Angelo record is pretty solid. Social Distortion, The Cult, Metallica, (Iron) Maiden—they always get some play. 

Outside of that, it’s been all 80′s lately. I beat up that Pandora station pretty good and the iPod has a pretty nasty old-school playlist with all the hits from that era.

Had the 80′s pumping strong wedding week as it was good, universal music that everyone was getting into. We had it all going. MJ, Madonna, Billy Ocean, Billy Idol, Hall & Oates, Tears For Fears, Journey—even got ‘Don’t Change’ (INXS), ‘Careless Whisper’ (Wham) and ‘Easy Lover’ (Phil Collins & Phillip Bailey) some play at the reception, which played well. 

Timeless stuff and always works in a pinch. Always.”

LASTLY, WE KNOW YOU’RE A DIEHARD CHARGERS FAN, BUT GIVE US YOUR NFL PLAYOFF PICKS FOR THIS WEEKEND—SEATTLE OR GREEN BAY AND INDIANAPOLIS OR NEW ENGLAND?  

PP: “I’m pulling for the underdogs and road teams in this one—the Packers and the Colts. That said, I’d also like to see Green Bay take on New England as it’d be something special to watch Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady having a go at it in the Super Bowl.  

You really can’t lose, though. Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck are the future and the now. All four quarterbacks and all four teams are legit. 

Have to think Seattle gets it done at home, but Indy might be able to pull the upset at Foxboro. We’ll see.

I hope I miss both games because I’m going late Hawai’i time on Sunday and making a run at Waialae.”  

Perez: History At The Sony Open & Tee Times

PGA Tour pro Pat Perez is kicking off his fifteenth consecutive season— back at the Sony Open in Honolulu, an event he’s played annually dating back to his rookie season in 2002.

After a chilly winter in Scottsdale, Waialae Country Club seems to get the juices flowing for Perez, who’s missed the cut twice in thirteen tries and has carded four top Top 10′s over that span— T8th (2014), T9th (2013), T4th (2008) and T10th (2007).

Perez played four events this past fall, missing the cut at the Frys.com Open in Napa and Shriners Hospital For Children Open in Las Vegas—where he began working with swing coach Drew Steckel over the weekend and has been fine-tuning his game ever since. 

Prior to that Perez finished T33rd at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia and T69th at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba mid-November. From that point on, Perez and Steckel logged countless hours at both Estancia and TPC Scottsdale, while continuing the process this week at Waialae. 

Tee times have been announced for this week’s event, with Perez getting the desired late-early draw.

Thursday’s tee time is set for 11:40 a.m. where he’ll start on No. 10 and Friday’s go-time is 7:00 a.m. on No. 1, paired with Ricky Barnes and Tim Wilkinson both days.