After one quarter, Tony Romo is down 14.
It's not an unfamiliar position for the former Cowboy quarterback, but Romo will need more than two touchdowns to get back in the mix at the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship. Romo's much-heralded PGA Tour debut turned sour on the back nine and he posted a round of 5-over 77, 14 shots off the blistering pace set by Brice Garnett, who shot 63.
It was a tale of two nines for the former No. 9. Romo's day got off to a tough start: he three-putted the Puntacana Resort's opening hole from 20 feet and lipped out a par putt at No. 2 to open with back-to-back bogeys. "I was nervous," he said. "I think I knew going in that I was going to be."
But he rebounded on the par-5 4th hole, hitting his second shot to the fringe, pin high, and two-putting for birdie.
On the next hole, he one-upped himself, raising his putter from across the green as his long-range birdie putt tracked into the center of the hole, bringing him back to even par.
Romo wasted a couple shots on the par-5 7th, where he was long of the green in two but took a chip and three putts to get down for bogey. But he nearly holed his approach shot on the par-4 8th and made the putt coming back for birdie.
"We had it going for a little bit," Romo said. "I had a chance to be under par pretty easily for a while."
The even-par front nine was impressive, although it's only fair to point out the strong play going on around him, including from his playing partner Denny McCarthy, who went out in 31. But that was as good as things would get for Romo. He walked in a lengthy par putt on 10 and got up-and-down for par on 11 and 12, too. But a bogey on No. 13 got Romo on the wrong track, and it took six shots for him just to get on the green after criss-crossing the par-5 14th.
Romo was fortunate to find his tee shots, which were each blocked well out to the right, on both 15 and 16. He made bogeys on each. But he stopped the bleeding with solid long-iron play on the closing holes, and two-putt pars on 17 and 18 left the quarterback-turned-broadcaster at 5-over 77.
With the afternoon wave still on the course, Romo was ahead of one other player in the field: Guy Boros brought up the rear at 7-over 79. At the conclusion of his round, Romo was 14 shots behind leader Brice Garnett, who shot 9-under 63.
McCarthy, who has grown up a Redskins fan, said playing alongside the Cowboys star had turned him into a fan of Romo. He shot 6-under 66.