There may be some interesting insights in what Villegas, Spieth, and McIlroy had to say after the first round. Here are some quotes and notes about them.
I am always interested when Villegas plays well because I have a little history with him. If you ask him who I am he would have no idea but I first met him when he played in my NGA/Hooters Tour event. It started with a phone call from his agent at IMG which got my curiosity up since kids on the Hooters Tour don’t have agents. After that I spent the whole week watching him and it was obvious he was on another level from the rest of the players.
Here is his description of his first round:
Practice rounds were really tough, really firm. I was surprised to see the balls, 5- and 6-irons stopping the way they were stopping on the greens. Also it makes it a little bit more bumpy and harder to make putts on this poa annua. I got off to a good start from the 10th hole, made a nice little birdie there, and then great birdie on No. 12, tough hole. And then I made birdies on, what was that, 15 and 17.
So nice front nine, and then the back nine, I got on fire there for a little stretch and obviously a little mishap on the last hole. But man, I thought I made the chip, too. It was a good day out there, fun.
Here’s what Spieth had to say after his highest opening round ever on tour:
“I felt like there was a couple rounds last week where I shot two-under and I was more miserable than I was today,” he said. “It’s just a day to forget.”
“I tried to do better today, even when it wasn’t going my way, to just be quiet, stay focused and try and make the next shot. None of them seemed to go in but at least that’s what I was doing.”
“I found it very difficult to trust the way the golf course is playing, and that really — I didn’t get off to a good start because of that. I’ve never played the golf course soft. I’ve always played where you have to kind of float it on to the front of the greens and let it bounce, and I just never trusted the adjustment.”
Following the interview where he was his normal class act the World No. 1 met instructor Cameron McCormick for a range session. He ended up being the last guy on the range as they halted the round because of darkness.
Finally here’s what Rory had to say after a solid first round about the way he has decided to play the drivable 10th hole and I particularly like his last comment:
Just hit it left, basically. Anywhere over that sort of, that bunker at 260, if you can hit it over there and just try and get it green high, even if you’re in amongst those little trees there, you’ll find some sort of shot to run it up on to the green and at least you have the length of the green to work with.
We were — they used the call-up system today and we were calling the group up and one of the guys behind us, I’m not sure who it was, hit it like 50 yards short of the green on the right side of the fairway and Kuch and I looked at each other and went, that’s not good. It’s one of those greens that if you try to go for that pin, it’s so difficult to hit the green. You have to hit a perfect golf shot.
I like it. It’s a 300-yard hole. The hole played over par last year. It’s a great design. I wouldn’t change it.
I am keeping my fingers crossed that Villegas can keep playing well. I still remember watching him lining up his putts like Spider-man.