When professional athletes from other sports venture out of their comfort zones and into the cauldron of professional golf, their first – and maybe only – goal is to avoid going up in flames.
Golden State Warriors basketball star Stephen Curry on Thursday was not even singed in his return to Web.com Tour competition. A year after posting consecutive scores of 74 in the Ellie Mae Classic, Curry shot a better-than-respectable one-over par 71 at the TPC Stonebrae in Hayward, California, about 30 kilometres southeast of Oracle Arena, where he is never out of his comfort zone.
“Awesome day,” Curry said. “I hit fairways, which for me has been the struggle the [first] five nines I’ve played [in his two Web.com Tour starts]. Hitting out of the rough all the time and scrambling puts a lot of stress on yourself. A couple putts went in and the shot on 17 [his eighth hole] was pretty cool. An inch away from dunking it. I don’t get many dunks so that was pretty cool.”
On the difficult par-4 eighth, Curry hit his drive down the middle, then from about 140 metres nearly holed his second shot, the ball hitting the pin about an inch from the top of the hole and the ball stopping about six feet away. He holed the putt for a second consecutive birdie en route to a back nine of two-under par 33.
This guy is making competitive golf look way too easy for a basketball player. Not that we’re too surprised. Curry, whose Golden State Warriors won a third NBA title in four years in June, rallied from being four-over par to shooting a one-over 71. Incredible.
And the near hole out wasn’t Curry’s only highlight. Here he is showing off some tour-level backspin:
And rolling in a birdie putt:
That was about as smooth as his stroke from the foul line. Unfortunately, he wasn’t quite as smooth on the green of his final hole. Curry had a long attempt for eagle, but he three-putted for par. For a man used to racking up 3s, missing out on shooting even par or better was a disappointing finish.