Thursday , March 27, 2014

Perez Fires Opening Round 68 At Valero

Whatever plagued Pat Perez in the final round of last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational has since been shaken off—as proven by an opening round 68 at the Valero Texas Open this Thursday in San Antonio.

Perez—paired with Will MacKenzie and Briny Baird—had the morning’s first tee time, but was delayed several hours due to fog. Once play resumed, Perez got off to a steady start, parring the first seven holes before carding a birdie on the par-five eighth. 

A 309-yard drive to the right fairway set up a 234-yard second shot to the left fairway. Perez then knocked his third shot onto the green, leaving himself a nine-footer for birdie.

As the extra layers of gear came off, Perez loosened up, found his groove and capitalized with four back-nine birdies—including three straight to close out the round.

After a birdie on the par-four eleventh, Perez strung together three straight pars before bogeying the par-four fifteenth—which the Tour veteran referred to as a wake-up call with three to play, telling long-time caddy Mike Hartford that he’d birdie the final three at TPC San Antonio. 

The confidence is a result of Perez’s work with coach Joe Mayo, who’s helping him understand the dynamics of his swing for the first time in his lengthy career. 

“I’ve got a pretty good understanding of what my swing is doing and what the ball is doing,” Perez said. “I feel as confident as I ever have with my ball striking and where the ball is going to go and if I can make a couple putts, I feel like I can shoot a pretty good score.”

Perez’s “pretty good” 68 was the result of birdies on the par-three sixteenth, par-four seventeenth and par-five eighteenth—nailing putts from 13′, 14′ and 17′ feet to close out the four-under round.

Next up, a return to TPC San Antonio and what’s listed as a 12:20 p.m. tee time, though Thursday’s play was suspended due to darkness, which should push the afternoon tee times back.  

POSTED BY PATPEREZGOLF.COM
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