THE WOODLANDS, Texas – John Daly birdied his first three holes Sunday to move into contention at the Insperity Invitational. But a triple bogey at the par-4 17th ended any chance of top-10 finish in his PGA Tour Champions debut.
Daly was tied for 10th place stepping to the 17th tee box, but pushed an iron into the right rough. The ball bounded down a slope and into a tricky lie. With water guarding the front and left portions of the green, Daly played aggressively with his second shot. Hitting a knock-down approach into the wind, he said, “Get up. Go.” But the ball didn’t listen and found the water hazard.
Following the penalty drop, Daly hit his fourth shot on the green, but three-putted from about 30 feet.
He signed for a 1-under 71 and finished the tournament at 2 under par. He tied for 17th, 10 shots back of champion Jesper Parnevik.
Sunday’s conclusion was nothing like the beginning. After a pair of stagnant starts to open the event, Daly birdied Nos. 1, 2 and 3. He added another at the par-5 sixth to reach 5 under for the tournament, and was just two off the lead.
He then bogeyed Nos. 7 and 8, to drop back to 3 under. And when overnight co-leader Jeff Maggert started his round birdie-birdie, Daly was six in arrears at the turn.
Daly made up a little more ground on the back nine, with three birdies to one bogey over his first seven holes. But then came the 17th.
"I just made a 7," Daly told a tour media official, having bypassed reporters after his round. "You know. One of those bad deals."
Daly vowed to work on his chipping and putting, both of which he described as “awful.” His iron play and driver, however, were both impressive. Daly averaged 315.8 yards off the tee at The Woodlands Country Club, leading the field. He hit 35 of 42 fairways and 42 of 54 greens in regulation, for the week.
"Just get home and work on the things I need to work on. My short and middle irons were actually pretty good. My 7-, 8-, and 9-irons were the ones that really hurt me today," he said. "But other than that, I mean, you know, putting is putting. Some weeks are good, some are bad. But, all in all, it was a good week."
Daly will next compete in two weeks at the Regions Tradition, a major on the senior circuit. The tour is off this coming week.