A trio of hometown players enjoyed solid opening rounds Thursday at the AT&T Byron Nelson Championship.
Martin Flores, a Dallas resident who played at Mansfield High School, shot a 5-under 65, two behind the leaders. Colleyville resident Chad Campbell is one more shot back at 66.
Fort Worth resident and former TCU player Tom Hoge (rhymes with bogey) was 6-under with four holes to play when darkness stopped play. Play resumes at 7:15 a.m. Friday.
“I was just scoring really well and all phases of my game have been pretty good,” Flores said. “I was happy with today and I want to keep doing it.”
Flores posted a bogey-free round, with five birdies from No. 7 through No. 16. He needed just 26 putts, and made four sand saves, including up-and-downs on No. 17 and 18.
“I’ve been working hard on my short game,” he said. “You’re not going to play perfect, and so when those situations come up you’ve got to have confidence that you can execute.”
Flores spent the past four years in the PGA Tour, but dropped to the Web.com Tour this season. He’s in the Nelson on a sponsor’s exemption.
“First of all I was thankful for the opportunity to be here, to play in a hometown event,” said Flores, who is No. 8 in the Web.com Tour standings. “So far this year things have been going well on the Web, and I’d like to continue that here.”
Campbell opened with a bogey-5 on No. 1, but regrouped with 2-under 33s on each nine.
“I made some putts. It was nice to see some putts go in,” said Campbell, who needed only 24 putts. “I hit some good shots, definitely, I hit some bad shots as well, definitely. The weather was tough when we first got going, but definitely happy with the score.”
Frequent European Tour players Ernie Els and Sergio Garcia expressed disappointment over Muirfield Golf Club’s removal for consideration to host British Opens after members voted to deny women membership to the club.
“So, it’s quite straightforward, really, but it’s unfortunate that Muirfield Golf Club, as we know, won’t be on the Open rotation probably until they have a woman member,” said Els, who won the 2002 British Open at Muirfield.
“I mean some of the rooms we can’t even go in as professionals. We can go into the locker room or we can’t go into certain areas of the club, you know, and that’s the membership. The membership has their rules and regulations and we kind of follow that.”
Garcia won the 1998 British Amateur at Muirfield.
“It is sad because I love that golf course,” said Garcia, won the 1998 British Amateur at Muirfield. “I think it’s one of the best links courses we play but, you know, it is their decision.”