After a strong start to his first round at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship, Tony Romo struggled coming home as he shot a 41 on the back nine that included three bogeys and a double.
Romo, the former Cowboys quarterback and current NFL analyst with CBS Sports, actually made three birdies on the front nine en route to an even-par 36, but his 5-over 77 cleared just one golfer, Guy Boros (who shot a 7-over 79), at the time Romo was finished.
There were moments, to be sure. Romo birdied Nos. 4, 5 and 8 and made multiple lengthy putts (including one for birdie on the front nine). But an easy course overwhelmed him on the back half of his day. Leader Brice Garnett beat Romo by 14 shots.
"I was nervous. I think I knew going in that I was going to be," Romo told reporters. "You try to rely on your mechanics and your fundamentals and just swing. We hit it fine, but I three-putted like three times, twice early in the round; that's just nerves. Hopefully you can get that out of the way … and come back and play better tomorrow."
Romo, playing on a sponsor exemption, will certainly need to play better Friday to make the 36-hole cut, which will probably end up being under par. This isn't a huge surprise. Romo is a great amateur, but there are multiple major winners in this field, including Geoff Ogilvy, Jim Furyk and Retief Goosen. This is the real deal. Plus, Romo .
For the sake of comparison,in his professional debut.
Still, I watched Romo play for part of the day on Thursday, and his swing was solid. I'm not sure it's "contend on the PGA Tour weekly" solid, but there was some good rhythm to it. His short game was also surprisingly precise. He had good touch around the greens, which is normally a sign of how prepared a golfer is for an event (see: Woods, Tiger circa 2015).
The hardest part for Romo was (and will be) staying locked in for full rounds. One or two bad shots can waylay an entire round or tournament. He pushed one out of bounds and played four straight holes in five over.
"Hit two poor tee balls, didn't commit to it, and ultimately put in a tough spot where you're just trying to make par," Romo told reporters.
"Ultimately, over 18 holes and 72 [holes], your flaws start to show at some point," he noted, via GolfWeek. "That's why you compete, though. You compete to know how to practice, and then you go practice to improve for the next time you step out here. I really hit some good shots. … I had a chance to be under par pretty easily there for a while, and then two or three shots on the back nine cost me. But that's golf."