Fran Quinn, Scott McCarron share lead at Hoag Classic
Fran Quinn had right hip replacement surgery in November, just after sneaking into the top 54 in the Charles Schwab Cup standings.
It was the second straight year Quinn needed to rally in order to keep his PGA Tour Champions playing card.
“I don’t want to do that anymore,” Quinn said with a laugh Friday. “I know my wife doesn’t. She’s had enough of that.”
Quinn, 53, seems to be fine dealing with adversity. He won’t need any comebacks to stay on tour if he plays as he did Friday in the first round of the Hoag Classic at Newport Beach Country Club.
Quinn shot a seven-under-par 64 to tie for the lead with Scott McCarron as the three-day tournament began in windy conditions and temperatures that never eclipsed the 50s.
Doug Garwood is in third place at 66, and Billy Andrade, Corey Pavin and David Toms form a three-way tie for fourth place at 67.
Quinn’s round, which matched his career-best on the tour, included eight birdies and one bogey. The bogey came on his final hole, No. 9, after he missed about a three-foot putt for par.
“I played really well tee to green,” said Quinn, who tied for sixth at this event last year and gained entry this year on a sponsor exemption. “I might have made five birdies inside of three feet, so I had a couple real kick-ins.
“I made a great putt on 17 from about 35 feet, which was nice, for birdie. But just overall I played very, very solid … in these conditions this golf course is difficult.”
McCarron also had eight birdies and just one bogey, his on No. 16. He has been playing well, having tied for second last week at the Cologuard Classic in Tucson, and placing in the top 25 in his last four tournaments. McCarron also tied for second at this event last year.
“Every hole plays crosswind, just with the way this golf course is set up,” said McCarron, 53, who played at UCLA. “With this wind, it’s tough. You’ve got to really change your start lines off the tee and be able to control the trajectory of the golf ball. I did that very well today.”
McCarron will be looking to change personal history. He has not won any of the five previous tournaments he has led or co-led following the opening round.
Garwood, who entered the event as an alternate after Retief Goosen withdrew, is just grateful to be playing after experiencing an atrial fibrillation episode during the first round last week.
“They hooked me up to machines after the round, took me to the hospital and had me shocked to get my heart back in rhythm,” Garwood said. “So I was just happy to play the next two days. Of course, [I’m] happy to be here this week.”
The Hoag Classic is one of three California events on tour, and Garwood said he enjoys playing them all. As a Southern California resident, however, he knows better than to commute from his home in Chatsworth to Orange County this week.
“With traffic, it could be 2 ½ hours,” he said with a grin.
Local favorite Fred Couples, who lives in Newport Beach, is one of five golfers tied for seventh at three-under 68. He won this event in 2010 and 2014, and Friday was part of a popular group that included two-time event winner Jay Haas and Mark O’Meara. Haas withdrew late in the round because of a back injury. O’Meara shot even-par and is tied for 33rd.
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