Will Padraig Harrington finally get a win this week at the 2012 Transitions Championship?
If his first round is any indication, Harrington might actually do it. Padraig shot a course record 61 for his first round on Thursday, a round that included no bogeys and 10 birdies on the scorecard. It was really interesting to watch because he wasn’t hitting the golf ball all that well off the tee. Everything else was clicking for him though, as he hit 78% of greens in regulations and torched the course with only 1.3 putts per green in regulation.
I haven’t seen Harrington play this well in nearly four years, when he won two majors in 2008 after Tiger Woods got injured. Since that time it has sort of been up and down for Padraig, coming close a few times to winning on the PGA Tour but never breaking through. He has a great chance to do finally do it this week though and we will have to wait and see how he plays on Friday after shooting such a great round of golf.
One of the other big surprises of the day came in Jim Furyk, who shot a five under 66 to finish five shots out of the lead held by Harrington. Furyk played some great golf all throughout Thursday, with a driving accuracy of nearly 80% and greens in regulation hit at 87%. The real problem for him of late has been his putter, but he was knocking in some lengthy putts for his first round, including six total birdies. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he is at the top of the leaderboard heading into the weekend, as he is playing that well right now.
Last week’s champion Justin Rose wasn’t too shabby on Thursday either, shooting a first round score of four under 66. He also looked solid from tee to green, with both driving accuracy and greens in regulation at about 80% each. He couldn’t give himself very many close putts though, but took advantage of the ones he could to put himself in contention for the tournament. Along with Furyk I also expect Rose to shoot another solid round on Friday and be near the top of the leaderboard heading into the weekend. He is just having one of those periods during the golf season where everything is clicking for him, and if he knocks a few more iron shots close to the pin on the weekend we could easily be seeing a back-to-back winner on the PGA Tour for the first time in a while.
Among the other notables, John Daly shot a first 69, even though he only hit about a third of the fairways and under half of the greens in regulation. If you can believe it, Daly’s strong suit on Thursday was actually his putter, as he only had 1.3 putts per green in regulation. Luke Donald shot a solid round of four under 67, which included one bogey and five birdies on the day. He only averaged around 250 yards off the tee on the Thursday, which makes one wonder whether he has enough firepower to tackle a course that is nearly 7,500 yards in length.
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