MIAMI – Geometry is telling the story in the gusty
first round of the CA Championship at Doral on Thursday, as in circles and
Downwind holes like the 529-yard, par-5 first, the
easiest hole on the PGA tour in 2009, are birdie (circle) holes, if not better. Into-the-wind holes, like the 467-yard 18th, the second toughest
on Tour in 2009, are squares (bogey), or double-squares (doubles).
The Blue Monster is playing like the Bipolar
John Senden's front nine said it all: four circles
in his first five holes, two squares in his next three, which momentarily left him a shot behind Geoff Ogilvy—four circles, one square in his first six holes. But then Ogilvy, the winner here in 2008, double-squared the downwind, par-4 seventh hole and tumbled off the leaderboard.
Tim Clark hit a perfect drive onto the sliver of
fairway right of the large water hazard that runs the length of the mean 18th hole, but still had to lay up with an iron for his second shot. He hit an
indifferent wedge well right of the hole and made bogey.
Playing partner Scott Verplank, already 4-over for
his first eight holes, drove it in the drink on 18 and made double bogey. A
name, possibly Simon Dyson's, had been blown halfway off the scoreboard near the
green before it was taken down, perhaps so it wouldn't peel off completely and fly into the flight
path of an incoming 767.
Behind Clark and Verplank, David Toms, another medium-length
hitter, was cruising along at 2-under when he came to 18, where he dropped a
shot with a bogey 5.
Then again, in this much wind it was helpful to think
of 18 as a par 5, and one as a par 4. A Golf Channel graphic showed the difference between teeing off
with the wind on the opening hole and against the wind on the finisher was 66 yards.
All that wind had players guessing. Martin Kaymer
hit into greenside bunkers on three of his first four holes. Lee Westwood aimed
well right with his short approach shot on the 402-yard 11th hole,
thinking the wind would blow it back to the pin. It didn't.
"That went straight, didn't it?" he said to his
caddie, sounding somewhat surprised. He seemed in danger of shooting himself
out of the tournament after four straight bogeys from 15-18, but eagled the
cupcake first hole to get back to 2-over par through 10.
In anticipation of an approaching storm, tournament
officials moved up the tee times Friday, from 11:25 a.m.—1:10 p.m. to 8—9:55