ELLIE MAE CLASSIC: Curry holds his own with 74

Golden State Warriors NBA basketball player Stephen Curry hits his approach shot from the eighth fairway as his caddie, Jonnie West, left, looks on during the Web.com Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic golf tournament Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, in Hayward, Calif. Curry shot a 4-over-par 74. West is the son of basketball Hall of Famer Jerry West. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

By Jeremy Harness

 HAYWARD–The Ellie Mae Classic, held at Hayward’s TPC Stonebrae, has a field of elite golfers. However, the one with the least amount of experience is getting most – if not all – of the attention this week.

 And apparently, that is perfectly fine with everyone involved.

 Warriors star guard Stephen Curry, who has gotten his golf game down to a scratch handicap, drew large crowds at the first round and is expected to draw even bigger ones for Friday’s second round.

 However, chances are that he won’t make it into the weekend, meaning that the crowds would slim down at that point. Here’s an idea of the long odds that Curry is facing this week, given he makes the cut: A bet of $1,000 on Curry winning the tournament would pay out an amount of $250 million

 With that said, Curry gave a very nice showing in the first round of this tournament in Thursday’s first round. Starting on the 10th hole, he got off to a shaky start, bogeying three of the first five holes for a score of three-over par.

 However, he got things back together with a birdie at the par-5 15th and ran off four straight pars before having to settle for a bogey at the second hole. He then sandwiched a double bogey at the par-4 fifth a pair of birdies before finishing his round with a bogey at the par-5 ninth.

 After all was said and done, the two-time NBA MVP, who on Thursday played with defending tournament champion Stephan Jaeger, who set a PGA Tour record last year in this tournament with a first-round 59, finished with a four-over score of 74 and a tie for 145th.

 “I would obviously like to make the cut and see if that’s in the cards,” Curry said. “It would probably require me to play two of the best rounds I’ve probably played in my life. But why not take advantage of the opportunity that I got right now?”

 Here’s what Curry has to go up against.

 Nicholas Thompson grabbed the lead by one stroke with an opening-round, bogey-free score of 63. He got off to a hot start, as he tore through his first nine holes by going five-under and then ran off two more birdies on the second nine to grab the lead as Friday rolls around.

 Right behind Thompson are five players who are tied for second, all of whom shot rounds of 64 on Thursday. Meanwhile, there are six more players who are just one stroke behind them with five-under rounds.

 Jaeger, who won this tournament last year, did not blister this course like he did in 2016, but he is still in the hunt after shooting a three-under 67. He finished his first nine at even-par after exchanging a bogey with a birdie, but he came alive on the back nine, running off four birdies in a seven-hole span before taking a bogey on his final hole.

 

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