RENO — Davis Love III got his first taste of the wind that has frustrated many golfers during the 15-year history of the Reno-Tahoe Open.
Love, making his RTO debut, managed just 2 points in Thursday’s opening round at Montreux Golf & Country Club.
“Well, it was tricky out there,” Love said after his second-ever round in Reno. “I had a lot of bad shots and got tricked by the wind a few times and threw away some shots.
“It was tough (to fight the wind). I’m not a veteran of this course obviously, so it was a guessing game for me today. It’s a battle. The greens are going to get faster and crustier as the day goes on. Obviously the wind is not going to let up until the guys are almost finished today, so it’s going to be tough.”
Love, who started on No. 10, had four bogeys and three birdies in his round. He was at zero points until he birdied No. to get to plus-2.
“I hit three good drives on the par-5s and didn’t get any points,” Love said. “I was kind of frustrated. It was nice to finish with at least 2 points.
“There is a long way to go, but you can do a lot of damage in this tournament if you get on a roll. Hopefully I can do something tomorrow (actually today).”
Wind and math at the RTO
Greg Chalmers said it isn’t the wind that bothers him, it’s the math he has to go through to figure out club selection.
“I don’t mind the wind,” Chalmers said after his 13-point day. “ I grew up in Western Australia in the third windiest city in the world. So the wind doesn’t bother me.
“It’s figuring out the yardages based on the altitude and the downhills we have. Great example on the last hole today. I had 175 actual yards but I was hitting pitching wedge which normally goes 130 yards. So once you figure out all those numbers, it’s quite mind boggling to think this is actually going to go far enough.”
Trevor Immelman agreed.
“The course itself is fantastic,” he said. “In this type of terrain there are some interesting shots. Like the shot on No. 17 where you know you’re hitting it 320 yards and hitting a 6-iron, so it’s kind of crazy.
“The defense of this course is when the wind blows. Then when you have this type of elevation , the slope and the wind to factor in, three large variables. That makes it tricky.”
The easiest hole on the course Thursday was the 636-yard par-5 8th which played to a 4.758 average. The second-easiest hole was the 518-yard par-5 13th which played to a 4.795. Next on the list was the 355-yard par-4 4th which played to a 3.856.
The toughest hole was No.1, a 494-yard par 4. It played to a 4.326 average. Next was the 220-yard par-3 16th which played to a 3.295. The third-toughest hole was the 171-yard par-3 11th which played to a 3.258.
Unofficially, there were six eagles on the day, three on No. 8, one on No. 2 and two on No. 13.
Past champions report
Eight past champions are in the field, including 2012 champ J.J. Henry.
None, however, made it to the front page of the leaderboard. Topping the list is Matt Bettencourt at plus-6 followed by Scott Verplank at plus-5, Steve Flesch, two-time champ Vaughn Taylor and Chris Riley at plus-3. John Rollins is at plus-2. Henry and McLachlan struggled at minus-2 and minus-3, respectively.
Left-handers fare well
Six left-handers – Greg Chalmers, Ted Potter Jr., Scott Langley, Steve Flesch, Nick O’Hern and Mike Weir – are in the field this week.
Only Weir at minus-4 failed to reach black numbers. Chalmers heads the left-handers at plus-13, Potter Jr. is at 7. O’Hern at 5, Langley at 4 and Flesch, a former champion is at 3.
Chalmers was asked if the course favored left-handers.
“There are a couple of key holes,” Chalmers said. “Ted (Potter) and I both like to move the ball left to right, so there are a couple of key holes.
“There are some golf courses where it’s not really fun for left-handers. I could name a few that we play on the PGA Tour. When I get on the tee, I like to move it left to right. There are a couple of holes that it’s comfortable (doing that), and that’s important.”