Thursday , March 19, 2015

Perez Rebounds After Rough Start At API

After a three-week layoff, there was definitely some rust early on this afternoon as Pat Perez took on Bay Hill in the opening round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Perez bogeyed three of his first six holes, but quickly took control, rattling off 11 consecutive pars, before a birdie on No. 18 brought him back to plus-two on the day.

After tapping in a 15-inch par putt on the opening hole, Perez bogeyed the par-three second—the result of a 244-yard tee shot to the left intermediate, leaving an eventual 16-foot par putt that ran a foot too long. 

Back-to-back pars ensued before a bogey on the par-four fifth. Perez hit his tee shot 239 yards to the right fairway and his second shot 147 yards to the green, leaving a 42-footer for birdie. Perez’s third shot left him a nine-footer for par and he went on to three-putt the hole en route to plus-two after five.

Insult to injury came on the par-five sixth, where Perez found the water on his second shot, after a 290-yard tee shot to the right fairway. Perez took a drop and hit his fourth shot 226 yards to the right fairway, leaving a 72-footer for par.

Facing a 20-footer for bogey, Perez quickly regrouped and avoided double with his longest putt of the afternoon—stopping the bleeding and immediately changing the course of the afternoon, playing the next twelve holes one-under.

Perez left himself a four-footer for birdie on the par-three seventh, shaking off back-to-back-bogeys immediately. On the par-four eighth, a 33-foot birdie putt came up a foot short, leaving an easy tap-in.

While the pars were plentiful on the back nine, several birdie opportunities were out there, but not capitalized on. A 16-footer on No. 10 stopped half a foot short, a 15-footer on No. 12 was four inches wide and a 27-footer on the par-five sixteenth came up about three inches short. 

A birdie on the par-four eighteenth closed the day on an up note, with Perez sticking his second shot 160 yards to the green, where he knocked down the four-footer for three.

Perez averaged 304 yards driving distance on the day, had a driving accuracy percentage of 64.29 and was 83.33-percent in greens-in-regulation. 

Friday’s tee time is set for 7:35 a.m. ET, where Perez will go off No. 10 and will again be paired with Freddie Jacobsen and Andres Gonzales.  

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