DORAL, Fla. (AP) J.B. Holmes never liked the old Blue Monster at Doral because he thought it was too easy for a World Golf Championship.
He said this with a straight face Thursday after a 10-under 62 that tied the tournament record at the Cadillac Championship, gave him a four-shot lead and left the rest of this world-class field to wonder just how he managed.
”I was able to hit the shots where I envisioned and hit good shots, and today the putter was on,” Holmes said. ”Put that combination together, you do everything pretty good, you’re going to shoot a good score.”
He made it sound as easy as it looked. Except that Trump National Doral wasn’t all that easy for everyone else.
Rory McIlroy again felt tentative with his swing and shot 40 on his opening nine holes before finishing without a par on his last six holes – an eagle, three birdies and two bogeys that allowed him to salvage a 73. The world’s No. 1 player has shot 73-74-73 in his three rounds in Florida this year.
Phil Mickelson shot 74 and failed to make a birdie for the first time in 186 rounds on the PGA Tour, dating to the final day at Olympic Club in the 2012 U.S. Open.
Ryan Moore was hanging with him until he hit his tee shot into the water on the par-5 18th hole and made double bogey. He still had a 66.
Dustin Johnson ran off four birdies in a five-hole stretch on the back nine and was at 68, along with Alexander Levy of France and Rickie Fowler.
HSBC WOMEN’S CHAMPIONS
SINGAPORE (AP) – South Korea’s Inbee Park and Taiwan’s Yani Tseng each shot 6-under 66 to top the leaderboard after the first round of the LPGA Tour’s HSBC Women’s Champions.
The second-ranked Park birdied the par-5 18th on Sentosa’s Serapong Course to tie Tseng. Coming off a tie for second last week in the LPGA Thailand, Tseng won the last of her 15 tour titles in 2012.
American Angela Stanford, the 2012 winner, was a stroke back.
Top-ranked Lydia Ko was at 68 along with Karrie Webb, Jenny Shin, Mo Martin and Mariajo Uribe. The 17-year-old Ko is coming off victories in the Women’s Australian Open and New Zealand Women’s Open.
Lexi Thompson had a hole-in-one on the par-3 14th in her 69.
Michelle Wie had a 73.
Defending champion Paula Creamer opened with a 74. Last year, Creamer won with a 75-foot eagle putt on the second hole of a playoff with Azahara Munoz.
PUERTO RICO OPEN
RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico (AP) – PGA Tour rookie Mark Hubbard closed with a birdie in windy conditions for a one-stroke lead in the Puerto Rico Open.
Hubbard opened with a 4-under 68 at Trump International Golf Club-Puerto Rico. He birdied Nos. 4, 5 and 6, dropped a stroke on the par-3 eighth and finished with a birdie on the par-4 ninth.
Hubbard made news last month when he proposed to Meaghan McCurley on the 18th hole at Pebble Beach during the first round in the AT&T Pebble National Pro-Am.
Chris Smith, Billy Mayfair and Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo were tied for second. David Duval, Jonathan Byrd and Alex Cejka were in the group at 70.
EAST LONDON, South Africa (AP) – Ireland’s Kevin Phelan and England’s Matt Ford each shot 5-under 67 to share the first-round lead in the Africa Open.
Phelan tied for second last week in the Joburg Open.
England’s Richard Bland, David Howell and John Parry were a stroke back along with South Africa’s Neil Schietekat and Spain’s Eduardo de la Riva.