Monday, February 19, 2018
Golf

Will Claxton's first-round 64 good for second at Transitions

Transitions Championship

Quote of the day

"To be honest, I'm a professional golfer. There isn't a low point in being a professional golfer. I mean, let's be realistic."

Padraig Harrington, after being asked to name his lowest point in the last 18 months

Number of the day

93 Players, out of 144, who finished their first rounds at par or better.

Quote of the day

"To be honest, I'm a professional golfer. There isn't a low point in being a professional golfer. I mean, let's be realistic."

Padraig Harrington, after being asked to name his lowest point in the last 18 months.

Number of the day

93 Number of players, out of 144, who finished their rounds at par or better.

Hole of the day

Par-4, 465-yard sixth On a day made for scoring, few golfers made up strokes on this hole. There were only nine birdies to go along with 32 bogeys and four double bogeys. It was the toughest hole on Thursday.

PALM HARBOR — Will Claxton played exactly one PGA Tour event last season, the Transitions Championship. Claxton got through a Monday qualifier at Innisbrook's Island Course in 2011, made the cut and finished in a tie for 67th.

This year, after one round anyway, Claxton finds himself in second place after shooting 7-under 64 Thursday. He had to go through PGA qualifying school to earn his card this season and is playing in his seventh event. He has made three cuts.

Unlike all the other stops on tour this season, Claxton is actually familiar with the Copperhead Course. That makes his week a little easier.

"There's no doubt that there's a comfort level here for me," said Claxton, an Auburn grad and a native of Swainsboro, Ga. "I hit the ball well here last year. This year, I know what to expect. I don't have to spend six hours out on the course on a Tuesday to get prepared. I already know what to expect."

Good luck charm: Padraig Harrington has been on a roll since he arrived at Innisbrook. He shot 64 in the Wednesday Pro-Am. Before he teed off in the Pro-Am, Harrington met Palm Harbor's Tyler Whitehurst, an autistic golfer from Palm Harbor who is the national Special Olympics champion. White­hurst called it "the best 10 minutes of my life," and Harrington was impressed as well.

"He was great," Harrington said. "He was a really nice guy to be around. He was the perfect guy to send you off on a round of golf, plus he was happy with life, and it's just infectious."

Look who's lurking: Two years removed from his Transitions Championship title, Jim Furyk is hovering after shooting 5-under 66 playing in the afternoon wave. "I played solid," he said. "I hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens. I just didn't make a lot of mistakes and hit a lot of good, solid shots."

Furyk tees off in the morning today, when the greens will be a little slower. But he doesn't expect to pull a Harrington and shoot 61. "Just because a couple guys pull away, I'm not expecting it to play easy in the morning," he said. "I'm just going to play smart and pick my spots."

Chip SHOTS: Trevor Immelman withdrew before teeing off due to a wrist injury and was replaced by Brian Harman, who shot 3-over 74. … Defending champion Gary Woodland isn't too far back after shooting 3-under 68. … Tampa's Ryuji Imada shot 3-over 74, Dade City's Tim Petrovic 1-over 72, Valrico's Michael Bradley par 71, and Dade City's Garrett Willis 7-over 78.

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