DORAL, Fla. (AP) — Henrik Stenson took 69 shots in the opening round of the CA Championship.
He was dressed for 68 of them.
Seeking any way to avoid getting his clothes caked with mud after a wayward tee shot on the par-4 third hole, Stenson came up with only one alternative.
So off came his shoes, his socks, his shirt and his slacks. (See photos here.)
“Just the way God created me,” Stenson said.
Well, that isn’t entirely true, unless he was born wearing boxer shorts and a golf glove, along with having a wedge in his hands.
Stenson hacked the ball out of the muck, got dressed standing in the rough off the left side of the fairway, and wound up making perhaps the most entertaining bogey of his life. He ended the day four shots off the lead at Doral, but the only thing anyone wanted to talk with him about following the round was the Swede’s striptease.
“If you are saving a shot, that has to be worth taking your shirt and trousers,” Stenson said. “I’m sure I’ll hear a few comments and once the pictures get out, I’ll hear a few more, no doubt. I’ll probably take that to my grave with me. I don’t think I scared too many spectators off the course, hopefully.”
Probably not, but the story spread quickly.
By the time Stenson – who wasn’t carrying any rain gear, which would have provided a clothing alternative – reached the fifth tee, he heard fans chatting about what he’d done a few minutes earlier.
“Yeah, I don’t know if I would do that,” Phil Mickelson said.
Stenson said he had sound rationale for the decision.
Earlier this year in Dubai, Stenson waded into some mud to play a shot and wound up covering his shirt and pants with dirt. Not wanting to finish another round looking out of sorts, Stenson swallowed his pride and disrobed.
“For the love of the game,” Stenson said, “and for the fans.”
EAGLE-EAGLE: Coming into the CA Championship, Sean O’Hair had one eagle in his past 256 holes.
He started Thursday with two in his first two holes.
O’Hair reached the par-5 opening hole in two and rolled in a 6-foot putt for the first eagle, then chipped in from 42 yards out on the par-4 2nd hole. It set the tone for a 5-under 67, which left him two shots out of the lead after Thursday’s opening round.
“It was a nice way to start, and that was about it,” O’Hair said. “There were a lot of tough holes. I had 16 holes to play and if you start thinking about what can be, that’s when you’re going to make bogeys and make mistakes. So I just stayed in the moment.”
He made three birdies and two bogeys the rest of the way.
An eagle-eagle start is rare, but not unprecedented: Chris Tidland was the last player on the PGA Tour to open with two eagles, which he did at the 2007 Ginn sur Mer Classic.
Tidland missed the cut at Tesoro Club that week.
And for as impressive as eagle-eagle is, it’s actually been topped before.
At the 2004 Women’s British Open, Karen Stupples opened the final round with an eagle, then followed that with a double-eagle on her way to victory.
SCOTT’S DRIVER: Adam Scott played the final 10 holes without a driver.
Scott was playing with a new Titleist 909 driver Thursday, and after using it at the par-5 eighth hole, he called for a rules official after hearing a rattle.
If the official declared the club unplayable, Scott could have replaced it without penalty.
But the ruling was that the club could still be played, so Scott simply took it out of play himself and went the rest of the way with 13 clubs in his bag. He could have hit driver on seven of his remaining 10 holes.
Titleist spokesman Joe Gomes said the rattle was likely caused by a piece of loose epoxy that became separated from the head following the manufacturing process.
A Titleist technician who had just arrived in Tampa in advance of next week’s Transitions Championship built Scott two new replacement drivers Thursday, and was driving them to Miami so Scott could have them before Friday’s second round.
Scott shot 71, finishing six shots off the lead.
MCILROY’S DAY: Rory McIlroy has won at Doral before, albeit not on the Blue Monster course.
And he was 9.
McIlroy won the Doral Junior Publix tournament in 1998, shooting even par over 36 holes and winning by five shots. The 19-year-old from Ireland shot 68 on Thursday, settling in three shots off the pace after one round of the CA Championship.
“It was great to come back here,” McIlroy said. “I have great memories of the place.”
McIlroy said he played the Blue Monster as a 12-year-old, needing driver and two whacks with a 3-wood to reach the 12th green. He got there with driver and just one 3-wood Thursday.
HERE AND THERE: Defending champion Geoff Ogilvy never got rolling, shooting 73 to finish eight shots off the lead. Ogilvy led after each round at Doral last year. … Luke Donald (69) said his surgically repaired wrist, which kept him out of last week’s Honda Classic, is fine. Donald said the problem last week was related to scar tissue and didn’t represent any major trouble. … Miami Heat guard Chris Quinn, an avid golfer, was in the huge gallery following Tiger Woods around Thursday. “That’s my guy,” said Quinn, who had the day off since the Heat weren’t practicing.