LA QUINTA, Calif. – As evidenced by Thursday’s scoring average, the Stadium Course at PGA West is no joke.
The Stadium Course played nearly a stroke harder (71.05) than the Nicklaus Tournament Course, which is also used for this week’s American Express. Just ask Ben An how difficult the Stadium Course can be.
“I lost six golf balls over there during a practice round,” he said with a laugh, following a first-round 65 at NTC that left him alone in second place.
Tour professionals normally aren’t grinding during a practice round, but to send two sleeves into the water is still surprising for the world’s 77th-ranked player.
“I do that more often than you would think, to be honest, because I wasn't focused that much because there is a lot of water on the Stadium Course, to be fair. There's water on almost every hole,” he said. “I ran out of [golf balls], so I asked my buddy for golf balls. I had to borrow like two, three balls for the last three holes. It was my caddie's fault. He only brought like five balls out there.”
An didn’t lose any golf balls on the Nicklaus Tournament Course on Day 1. In fact, he didn’t even make a bogey on his way to a 7-under card that left him one shot off the lead held by Brandon Hagy.