Hilton Head Island resident Matt Bova is playing in his first PGA Tour event this week, as the Haig Point Club assistant professional earned an exemption into the field by winning the Carolinas PGA's 18-hole qualifier at Berkeley Hall last month. In his opening round Thursday morning, the 26-year-old shot a 7-over 78, but rallied at the end with birdies on three of his final five holes. Bova shares his experiences this week in a daily diary, as told to reporter Chris Cox.
The wind so much didn't bother me. It was just around the greens and my swing didn't feel very good in the beginning. Then I kind of figured something out on the back nine, which was the front nine for me. That 44 on the first nine just didn't feel good. I'm just trying to get a respectable score. I was just looking for something even, I would have been happy with that. But to come in at 2 under, that makes me feel a bit better going into tomorrow.
Greens were really good, rolling awesome. Some of the best greens I've putted on. The thing is just going back to the nerves thing. There were a couple real, real short putts, like only a foot and a half. Typically if you're not in a tournament like this, you just go in and tap it in easily and think nothing of it. I missed two of them. So that kind of hurts.
Usually people will talk about having a bogey-free round. I just didn't want to have a birdie-free round. So it was good to at least get that first one under the belt, and then I was kind of like, 'All right, let's see what we can do from here. I'm getting a little momentum.' Three of the last five, that sounds like a really good stat.
I'm sure there will be some demons in the back of my head once I make the turn to 10, especially if I play well on the front. The front nine just sets up a little better for me. The back nine I feel like has a lot more target golf and some quirky holes if you put it in the wrong position.
I don't even know my plans for the next five minutes, just because we have so many people here. My mom is getting in town. She is flying into Atlanta around 9. So I'll probably spend some time with the fiancee, my fiancee's dad and my mom.