Valdosta Daily Times

April 26, 2013

Daly draws a crowd, shoots 70

Ed Hooper
The Valdosta Daily Times

QUITMAN — John Daly has a good chance of making the cut this weekend at the South Georgia Classic.

The two-time major champion shot a 2-under par 70 in his opening round on the Tour Thursday, putting him in a tie for 29th place. He will tee off today at 1:10 p.m. from the first tee, with playing partners Mathew Goggin and D.J. Brigman.

“I didn’t hit it very good,” Daly said. “I hit it great off the tee today, it was just my middle irons were off. I didn’t get a lot of close shots. I had a lot of saves, as you saw on nine. But I putted really good today. I have to get my middle irons. They’re awful right now.”

After starting his round on the 10th tee, Daly overcome an early double bogey on the par-4 15th, which put him 1-over par early into his round.

“I hit a 7-iron or 8-iron into 15 and came up short,” Daly said. “It was probably about 8-feet at one time and it came all the way down the green. I hit a pretty bad chip and it rolled back down and then I hit a pretty good chip and it just kind of stuck. It was bad chipping on that one.”

But, Daly was able to recover and birdie three of his final 12 holes to finish at 2-under par, an effort he was proud of following his round.

“That was the only hiccup of the whole round — the 15th hole,” Daly said. “I think I played two or three under par in from there. I am real satisfied with the way I am putting and hitting the driver. The other 12 clubs need a lot of work right now.”

Daly was able to recover multiple times throughout the day from his bad iron shots, including on his final hole of the day — the par-4 ninth — when his approach shot landed him into the deep sand trap to the right of the green. Daly was able to chip out and land it a few feet from the hole, converting his par putt to remain at 2-under par.

Despite teeing off at 7:55 a.m., Daly had the largest following from hole-to-hole than any other golfer on the day, something he was happy to see following his round.

“With how early it was I was surprised there was anyone out here that early,” he said. “I think the people that watch this don’t just admire how we play, but they admire how beautiful this golf course is. Like I said, I wish we had more courses like this on the regular tour, where you can actually hit, between all the par 4’s and 5’s, you have to hit driver on almost all of them.

“It is just cool to play a golf course like that. It reminds me of the early 90’s when we were able to do that.”

With the early morning tee time came the challenge of playing in the fog that filled the majority of the course. Luckily for Daly, he said it didn’t affect him too much, like it did for others that played early in the morning.

“I think 13 there was a little bit; that was our fourth or fifth hole,” Daly said. “It wasn’t too bad at all.”