Bill Nichols

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Inside the Ropes at HP Byron Nelson Championship

IRVING _ Purists insist that golf should be played as nature intended, on courses that fit the natural landscape.

If the TPC Four Seasons at Las Colinas was left in its natural state after Tuesday night’s hailstorm, then nature would have intended it to be unplayable.

``I saw a picture of the 18th (green) on Wednesday morning and I was like, `Holy cow, how are we going to play?’’’ Jeff Overton said. ``It was like you were on Mars and you saw a bunch of craters.’’

Ground control to Overton: He shot 6-under 64 at the TPC to take the first-round lead of the HP Byron Nelson Championship.

The pockmarked layout held up well after crews scrambled to repair thousands of hail-induced divots on the greens.

``They’re definitely bumpy, especially late in the day, but my hat’s off to the crew here that got the golf course ready,’’ Overton said. ``I really thought they did a great job.’’


A local rule was in place allowing players to repair divots other than their own, provided they were the result of hail.

``There are marks on the greens, but I was impressed how well the greens rolled,’’ said Sergio Garcia, who shot 66 with an infected finger and no practice this week. ``The good thing is, by the end of the week, with all of us repairing all of these, the course is going to look pretty good.


With players allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in fairways, the TPC had a scramble feel to it.

Players would stick a tee in the ground to mark their ball, pick it up and look around, as if waiting for the rest of the group to arrive and say, ``Let’s play this one.’’

It played like a scramble too. Afternoon rounds were taking about 5 hours, 35 minutes.


Crimes of Fashion

_ Charley Hoffman unveiled a blinding green ensemble featuring dark green shirt, light green slacks, dark green belt, green-on-white golf shoes, and, of course, green-and-yellow sunglasses. He represents Waste Management.

_ Not sure what Robert Gamez was thinking when he decided to drape purple-and-gold checkered flags around his legs to serve as slacks. He added white shirt, white shoes and topped it off with a purple visor.

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