Peterson’s 2 eagles carry lead at Quail Hollow
John Peterson started his rookie season on the PGA Tour about the time Tiger Woods started to experience back problems.
One of them is closer to walking away than the other.
Peterson, the 29-year-old free spirit who has pledged to retire from golf’s vagabond lifestyle if he doesn’t earn enough money to keep his card in three events, made back-to-back eagles late in the opening round Thursday for a 6-under 65 that gave him a two-shot lead in the Wells Fargo Championship.
Woods had an unspectacular round of 71 in his return to Quail Hollow after a six-year absence — mostly due to his balky back — and figured it would keep him and everyone else fairly close to the lead on a course that made it tough for anyone to get separation.
That was before Peterson came to life late in his round.
He holed a bunker shot from just under 60 feet away on the par-5 seventh hole. Then he holed a 56-degree wedge from 107 yards in the fairway for eagle on the next hole. It almost got even better. From the trees left of the ninth fairway, his approach cleared the bunker and was headed for the flag as the crowd — “seven or eight people and a Golden Retriever in the grandstands back there,” he said — began to cheer in anticipation.
It missed. He missed from 8 feet. All was well.
Peterson had never led after any round in 89 starts on the PGA Tour, and he didn’t seem all that worked up over it.
“I’m kind of free-wheeling it at this point,” he said. “I know a little bit has been said about me retiring if I don’t make the necessary money for my medical starts, and all that’s true. If I don’t make it, I’m not playing golf anymore.”
He made clear on more than one occasion he wants to win the Wells Fargo Championship, or the two tournaments he has left. Because of surgery on his left hand two years ago, Peterson started the year needing to make $375,165 in eight tournaments to keep his card. Five events later, he still needs $318,096 and has this week, and then the FedEx St. Jude Classic and Travelers Championship.
Peterson was only part of the show on a warm and breezy day at Quail Hollow, site of the PGA Championship last summer.
Johnson Wagner, a member at Quail Hollow, also had back-to-back eagles when he drove the green on the par-4 14th to 6 feet, and then hit the green on the par-5 15th hole and made a 45-foot putt. He wound up in the group of five players at 67 that included PGA Tour rookie Keith Mitchell and Tyrrell Hatton.
Play suspended due because of rain
THE COLONY, TEXAS
The first round of the LPGA North Texas Classic has been called off because of heavy morning rain. Only 34 of the 144 golfers completed at least one hole.
Play was stopped Thursday 69 minutes after the first groups teed off. The decision to resume play Friday was made during mid-afternoon, hours after the rain stopped and sunshine bathed the course. Thursday’s scores were thrown out.