Ex-NFL star Romo fires 70, looks to make first PGA cut
San Francisco (AFP) –
Former NFL star quarterback Tony Romo fired a two-under par 70 Thursday at the US PGA Tour Safeway Open, taking a major step toward making his first cut at a PGA event.
The 39-year-old American, who played 14 seasons for the Dallas Cowboys, is playing on a sponsor exemption for the fourth time in a PGA event, having badly missed the cut in his prior tries.
But with a strong start at Silverado in Napa, California, amateur golfer Romo might have to skip his usual job as an NFL television commentator to play Sunday's final round.
Romo began on the back nine and birdied the par-4 10th with a 50-foot putt, took a bogey at 14 after finding a bunker on his approach, then birdied the par-5 18th after blasting out of a bunker to four feet and sinking a birdie putt.
He stumbled with back-to-back bogeys at the third and fourth holes but birdied the par-5 fifth on a 13-foot birdie putt, then closed with back-to-back birdie putts, a 20-footer at the eighth and seven-footer at the par-5 ninth.
"Same thing I did in football," Romo said. "You just start from the beginning. You're not very good, not very good, and then all of a sudden you make the leap somewhere and you can be more efficient and you can do things a little bit better."
Romo was five strokes back of early clubhouse leader Adam Scott of Australia, having shown great progress from he earlier PGA efforts.
"It's embarrassing to stink," Romo said. "I stunk a lot, so just trying to continue to improve and get better."
Romo was last in a field of 132 at Puntacana in the Dominican Republic last year, then placed next-to-last this year at the same PGA event, also on 15-over 159 for 36 holes.
He placed 148th among 153 at this year's PGA Byron Nelson Championship with rounds of 76 and 74, what had been his two best PGA rounds until Thursday.
Practice sessions had given him hope that his fourth PGA try was the charm.
"Just the scoring back home and in practice sessions have shown that I've done things a little better, so that makes you excited to come out and test your game," Romo said. "I think it's rewarding on a tough golf course to come out here and do that."
NFL broadcaster CBS has given Romo permission to skip his scheduled commentary job Sunday when the Minnesota Vikings visit the Chicago Bears, with another former NFL quarterback -- retired Cincinnati Bengals quarterback and studio analyst Boomer Esiason -- set to replace Romo in the booth if he makes the cut.
© 2019 AFP