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Steph Curry proved last year that he’s not intimidated by professional golf events.
His encore performance? Somehow it could be even better, by a significant margin.
The two-time MVP guard of the Golden State Warriors birdied three of his final seven holes Thursday at the Web.com Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic to rally for a 1-over 71 in the opening round at TPC Stonebrae in Hayward, Calif.
That’s three shots better than his first round in this event last year. And that 74, in the amateur’s Web.com Tour debut, was considered a pretty significant success.
When he reached the clubhouse, Curry was in a tie for 115th – although he likely will drop a little with the afternoon wave just off.
By day’s end, the projected cut likely will be 1 or 2 under, which means Curry actually will begin Friday with at least a tiny chance to make the weekend.
Curry is competing in just his second career Web.com Tour event, and these are really his only forays into high-level competitive golf. He was around a 2 handicap heading into this event last year and currently sports a 0.0. That’s impressive improvement but a vast cry from the pros at this level.
And history shows that athletes from other sports foraying into the Web.com Tour or PGA Tour for a week tend to feel the pressure and shoot rounds in the high 70s, 80s or worse. Often it’s a last-place finish or thereabouts.
His playing competitors, Cameron Champ and Martin Trainer, didn’t beat him by much with Champ going 2-under 68 and Trainer firing a 1-under 69.
Trainer has won twice on the Web.com Tour this season, and Champ has a 2018 victory also – along with the fact that the 23-year-old is considered one of the game’s top young talents.
Curry did just fine in his first 11 holes, with four bogeys and seven pars as he appeared headed to something around his impressive opening 74 from Thursday last year.
But then he caught fire. Curry made his first birdie of the day at the par-5 third (his 12th) to get back to 3 over.
He then birdied the seventh to move back to 2 over and nearly holed out for eagle as his approach at the eighth hit the pin. That led to birdie and boosted him to 1 over.