Thursday , February 25, 2016

Opening Round 72 For Perez At Honda Classic

Pat Perez is back in action at this week’s Honda Classic—his first since 2007—and fired an opening-round 72 at PGA National. Perez was one-under at the turn before giving a few back on the back nine. 

Going off of No. 1 at 8:05 a.m. ET on Thursday, Perez bogeyed the opening hole after hitting his tee shot to the right rough and second shot to the left green side bunker. Staring down a nine-footer for par, Perez left the putt two feet short and carded a five.

Perez saved par on No. 2, knocking down a nine-footer after hitting his tee shot to the right intermediate and second shot to the front left green side bunker.

From there, he settled in and birdied the par-five third—hitting his tee shot 306 yards to the right fairway, his second shot 229 yards to the green and setting up the 3.5-foot birdie putt, after an eagle attempt ran long. 

Back at even, Perez strung together back-to-back pars—tapping in a three-footer on the par-four fourth and a 4.5-foot putt on the par-three fifth.

A nine-foot par putt ran long and wide on the par-four sixth; Perez’s second shot 179 yards to the green, but a would-be 43-foot birdie putt ran past the cup, eventually setting up the one-foot tap-in for five.

Perez responded, hitting his tee shot 191 yards on the free on the par-three seventh, followed by an 11.4-foot birdie putt that got him back to even. A nine-foot par putt dropped on the par-four eighth, giving Perez some momentum going into the par-four ninth.

After hitting his tee shot 268 yards to the right fairway, Perez dropped his second shot 173 yards onto the free, leaving a 22-foot birdie putt which he rolled in, putting him at one-under at the turn.

Perez missed a six-footer for birdie on the par-four tenth, setting up a three-footer for four. From there the first of a few rough spots that set him back. 

The par-four eleventh was playing as the second-hardest hole and after a 283-yard shot to the left fairway, a 176-yard shot to the left fairway and a 56-foot shot to the green, Perez was staring down a 15-footer for par that went long and wide, setting up the four-foot bogey putt. 

Back-to-back pars ensued, before the day’s toughest-playing hole—the par-four fourteenth—did it’s best to hijack a would-be solid opening round.

Perez hit his tee shot 259 yards to the left fairway, but his second shot pulled right and the 203-yard effort found the water. A penalty stroke and drop in the right rough had Perez hitting his fourth shot 62 yards to the green, setting up a 16-foot bogey putt that went wide. He eventually dropped a 3.6-footer for double.

On the par-three fifteenth, Perez’s tee shot went 170 yards to the green but his 40-foot birdie putt rolled long, leaving a 6.7-footer for par that came up three inches short.

Perez responded with a 241-yard tee shot on the par-four sixteenth and a 186-yard second shot to the right rough, before almost holing out for birdie from 85 feet out—leaving his third shot six inches from the cup, setting up the par tap-in.

With two to play, Perez managed to steal one back on the par-three seventeenth, hitting his tee shot 169 yards to the green before brilliantly rolling in a 28-footer for birdie, getting him back to plus-two on the day.

Perez hit his tee shot 273 yards on the par-five eighteenth, but a 253-yard second shot found the fairway bunker, setting up a 66-yard third shot that found the green, but had him staring down a 20-foot birdie putt that came up short. Perez knocked down the three-footer for par and closed out an opening round 72.

Perez averaged 277 yards driving distance, hit 66.67-percent greens-in-regulation, had a driving accuracy percentage of 78.57, was 50-percent scrambling and 0.01 in strokes gained putting.

As of 5:00 p.m. ET, Perez is currently six strokes off the lead and T65.

Friday’s second round gets underway at 1:05 p.m. ET, where Perez will go off of No. 10 and will again be paired with Tony Finau and Paul Casey.

IN OTHER NEWS: An unofficial South Florida CHIVE meet-up is taking place Friday February 26th at PGA National in the form of a free concert by Joe Bachman and The Tailgaters. The show kicks off at 6:00 p.m. ET.

“The Tailgaters”—theCHIVE official house band, with ties to the annual Murray Brothers’ official Caddyshack golf tournament in St. Augustine, Florida—is headlining this week’s event in Palm Beach Gardens, while Perez—a long-time CHIVER and current endorsee of the William Murray Golf apparel line—will be in attendance with CHIVE Nation on Friday night. 

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