Most players on the Web.com Tour would not be happy with shooting consecutive rounds of 74, better than just a handful of competitors, while missing the cut by 11 strokes at an event. Then again, most — okay, all — of them are not NBA superstars, making what Stephen Curry accomplished quite impressive, indeed.
In his professional golf debut, Curry overcame a shaky front-nine score of 39 Friday to post his second straight 74 at the Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae in Hayward, Calif. His 148 total, on a par-70 setup, was better than four other players, plus three more who withdrew, in a field that included seven players who have won on the PGA Tour.
“It was an unbelievable experience, and to shoot two 74s, I’ll take that,” Curry said (via USA Today).
On Thursday, Curry said, “I’ve been looking forward to this since I found out and to finally hit my first shot in tournament play was a really, really nervous moment but it was everything I hoped for. If you told me I was going to shoot 74 going into the first round I’d take that all day, every day. I’m pretty happy with it.”
Curry, who reportedly has a two handicap, was given an over/under of 76.5 for his lowest round by British bookmakers (via Golf.com), so he easily exceeded those expectations in both rounds. News of his first-round 74 made a notably favorable impression on some top-tier golfers.
“That was awesome what he did yesterday,” Jordan Spieth said Friday at the Bridgestone Invitational (via the AP). “I think he certainly beat most everybody’s expectations, but I don’t think that really surprised him.
“It was pretty cool — really cool — to see,” Spieth, an Under Armour endorser, as is Curry, continued. “You see him fist-pumping out there, and just him talking about how nervous he was when he heard his name called, it just makes us feel a little better when sometimes some of the stuff he does looks like a robot.”
“To be honest, I think it’s pretty special for a two-time MVP to be able to shoot 74 at a pro event and beat other pros,” Jason Day said.
“I was asked if I thought he was going to break 80, and that’s the hand grenade question,” Paul Casey said. “But 4 over is really good. It’s a lot of pressure, and he exceeded my expectations.”
One pro golfer, Dawie van der Walt, had been particularly skeptical. The South African told ESPN’s Michael Collins that if Curry broke 80 a second time, he would eat his golf bag. Not surprisingly, van der Walt subsequently tweeted that he was “only joking” about that, but he did praise Curry for his play.
“All day yesterday I was checking who said what, and I don’t usually do that, but it was cool to hear the chatter that was going on,” Curry said (via USA Today). “Then it got into the social media stuff, but a lot of people had their foot in their mouth, so that was cool, to set a little fire in that regard.”
Fortunately for Golden State fans, the two-time NBA MVP has no plans to quit his day job and pursue golf full-time. “I’ll stay in my lane and enjoy,” Curry said. “I’ll be suiting up for the Warriors next year.”