Charlie Wi was playing in the John Deere Classic two years ago when some fans recognized him.
That is, they thought they recognized him.
“My caddie overheard one of the spectators saying, ‘Oh, that’s Michelle Wie’s dad. He got a sponsor invite, too,’ ” said Wi, who – like Wie – missed the cut at the John Deere in July 2005. “I thought that was hilarious.”
If Wi continues to play the way he did Thursday, more people will know who he really is.
Bolstered by a birdie-birdie finish, Wi shot a 5-under 65 in windy conditions at PGA National, giving him a one-shot lead over Bernhard Langer after one round of the Honda Classic at Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. He missed only two fairways, connected on 17 of 20 putts inside 25 feet, and made a 40-footer for birdie at the par-4 13th.
“Today was definitely my day hitting the ball,” said Wi, who has made only 14 cuts in 30 previous PGA Tour starts, but finished tied for ninth earlier this year at the Buick Invitational to make a career-best $130,000.
Marco Dawson, Robert Allenby, Joe Ogilvie and Cliff Kresge shot 67s on a day marked by 20 mph wind and even higher gusts. Brandt Snedeker, 2005 winner Padraig Harrington, Davis Love III and Brett Wetterich were among those who opened with 68s, and Jim Furyk led a group of four another shot back at 69.
Allenby was 4 under after four holes thanks in part to an eagle at No. 3, where he hit a “ripper” of a drive, then knocked a 3-wood to 40 feet and made the putt.
John Daly found conditions especially tough, and that had nothing to do with the course.
Daly withdrew after suffering what was announced as a rib injury on the 12th tee, his third hole of the day.
He tried to stop his swing when he heard a fan’s camera clicking, tried to hit another tee ball, said he couldn’t handle the pain and went off to seek treatment in the tour’s medical trailer. He declined comment.
Ken Kennerly, the tournament’s executive director, said Daly was injured when a resident of PGA National – who was unaware of the no-camera rule on the course — got “caught up in the excitement of the tournament in her backyard.”
“Like the rest of us, she is devastated that her use of a camera resulted in an injury to John,” Kennerly said.
Daly, who always draws massive crowds, was in the field on a sponsor’s exemption. He declined comment afterward.
“All he said to us was, ‘I’m done,’ ” Ogilvie said. “It wasn’t good.”
Australia’s Brad Kennedy shot a 7-under 65 to take a one-shot lead over Mike Weir, Stephen Gallacher, Peter Hanson and Graeme Storm after the first round of the Johnnie Walker Classic at Phuket, Thailand. Ernie Els and Adam Scott struggled, with Els shooting a 73, and Scott opening with a 74. … The Masters will have one hour of coverage on its Web site before the telecast begins, an example of how new Augusta National chairman Billy Payne wants to see how new media can expand the tournament’s audience. The Masters, which will be held April 5-8, again will feature “Amen Corner Live” on its Web site (www.masters.org), showing every golfer playing the 11th, 12th and 13th holes at Augusta National.
TRACKING RYAN MOORE
and MICHAEL PUTNAM
This week: PGA Tour’s Honda Classic, through Sunday, PGA National Resort and Spa, Champion Course, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Moore’s first-round score: 4-over-par 74.
Putnam’s first-round score: Even-par 70.
Position: Putnam is tied for 21st, one of 36 golfers to shoot rounds of par or better. Moore is tied for 81st. Charlie Wi is the first-round leader at 5-under 65.
Recap: Ball-striking was Moore’s problem. The Puyallup golfer reached eight of 18 greens in regulation. He had four bogeys (holes No. 2, 7, 13, 14) and no birdies. … Putnam, the Tacoma native, birdied his first hole (No. 10) but didn’t get much going in a three-birdie, three-bogey round.
Moore’s tee time today: 4:57 a.m. PST off the first tee.
Putnam’s tee time today: 10 a.m. PST off the first tee.Todd Milles, The News Tribune