Tony Romo has a simple mindset going into his second round on Friday in the Veritex Bank Championship at Texas Rangers Golf Club.
“Just go out and shoot 62, 63,” Romo said, smiling. “Make up a good 14, 15 shots.”
Yes, Romo had a forgettable opening round on Thursday and finds himself near the bottom of the leader board following a 6-over 77. Houston native Anders Albertson leads the tournament, firing a 9-under 62.
All eyes were on Romo, though, during the opening round of the Korn Ferry Tour event in Arlington, the PGA Tour’s minor leagues. Romo received a sponsor’s exemption and certainly drew the largest gallery of anyone in the field on Day 1.
Romo got off to a strong start, chipping in for an eagle on the par-5 10th (his first hole of the day). Romo described it as a “soft chip.” That was among the few bright spots for his day.
He missed a 7-footer for birdie on No. 11 and then started to unravel on the 372-yard par-4 13th. Romo lost his tee ball, which eventually led to a double bogey. It was the only double bogey carded at No. 13 on the day.
Romo rebounded with a birdie on No. 16, but then triple-bogeyed No. 17, a 461-yard par-4. Romo topped his drive into the water and struggled from that point on.
“You can’t make the big numbers,” Romo said. “It’s too hard to come back from triple bogeys and double bogeys.”
Romo birdied No. 18 for a 1-over 37 on his first nine. He didn’t get anything going on his second nine.
Romo had another double bogey on No. 3 (his 12th hole of the day) as his drive landed on the cart path where a drop would have been in the woods. He ended up taking an unplayable after a lengthy rules discussion.
Romo then bogeyed Nos. 4, 5, 6 and 8. His only birdie on his second nine was on the par-5 ninth.
“Fifteen holes you can be just fine,” Romo said. “It’s the two or three in golf that really get you. It’s like throwing an interception — seven points on one throw so you have to avoid that. Out here you just can’t make triple bogeys and double bogeys. That gets you behind and then you start pressing.”
Despite what his scorecard suggests, Romo feels he’s playing well. He hopes to post a better score Friday even though he played himself out of realistically making the cut on Thursday.
“Right now, I’m playing some really good golf. I just didn’t score well,” Romo said. “I didn’t hit the ball a few times that really cost me. Every time you play, you learn and you get to show yourself where you’re not good enough yet.”
At the end of the day, Romo is thankful to have a spot in the field and appreciated the hometown support.
“It’s really enjoyable to feel that again. It’s been a while,” Romo said.
Romo is scheduled to tee off at 2:15 p.m. Friday, although there is rain in the forecast.
Nelson field update
The AT&T Byron Nelson announced three exemptions for this year’s tournament, awarding spots to U.S. Walker Cup Team members Ty Strafaci, Cole Hammer and Pierceson Coody.
Strafaci is the 2020 U.S. Amateur champion; Hammer is a standout for the University of Texas golf team; and Coody is another UT player who is the grandson of TCU great and 1971 Masters champion Charles Coody.
Other notable players who have committed to the tournament include Dustin Johnson, the No. 1-ranked player in the world, reigning U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and three-time major champion and North Texas native Jordan Spieth.
The Nelson is scheduled for May 13-16 at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney.
Hogan Award semifinalists
The Fort Worth-based Ben Hogan Award named its 10 semifinalists on Thursday.
The 10 contenders, in alphabetical order, are: Ludvig Aberg of Texas Tech, Texas A&M’s Sam Bennett, Pierceson Coody of Texas, Wake Forest’s Alex Fitzpatrick, Nick Gabrelcik of North Florida, SMU’s Mac Meissner, John Pak of Florida State, Arizona State’s David Puig, Garett Reband of Oklahoma and Georgia’s Davis Thompson.