Impressive Michael Sims halfway to date with destiny
Michael Sims led the island’s charge during the opening round of the Butterfield Bermuda Championship at a windswept Port Royal Golf Course yesterday.
The 42-year-old professional was at even par with three holes left to play when play was halted because of bad light.
Sims was in the ascendancy at three under after rattling in a fourth birdie of the round at the par-four 10th to grab a share of fifth.
However, he lost a bit momentum after making bogey on three of the next five holes to drop back to a tie of 34th.
“Obviously a solid start,” Sims told The Royal Gazette. “Would’ve liked to make the last putt on 15 for par, but it is what it is. Just have to come back out tomorrow and keep on going.
“I am swinging good, hitting the ball good and putting good, so I just let it go.
“Just have to do the same thing as today; hit solid golf shots and make some putts. That’s what it’s all about.”
The former Web.com Tour player coped best among the local players in the field in the blustery conditions at the par-71 Southampton layout.
“It’s blowing like crazy out here,” he added. “I’m just trying to hit one shot at a time and make solid contact and just enjoy the day.”
Sims was paired in the same threesome as cousin Brian Morris, who is realising a dream of playing in a PGA Tour event after receiving a sponsor’s exemption.
“Playing with Brian was a lot of fun,” he said.
Tied for 102nd at five-over 76 are amateur Damian Palanyandi and professional Chaka DeSilva.
“It was good and I am pretty happy,” said Palanyandi, whose round included seven bogeys and two birdies either side of the turn. “First PGA Tour start is not that bad so all in all pretty good.
“The wind is blowing you all over the place; it’s tough to get the putter square sometimes.
“I’m pretty used to the wind direction. It was the same direction as the Stroke Play [Championship] and the qualifier, so I just set my own game plan and stuck with it.
“I left a few shots out there but that’s golf, it’s going to happen.
“I just have to stay composed and keep going, keep chugging on.”
DeSilva was four over through nine holes after starting his round on the tougher back nine exposed more to the wind.
However, he rallied coming in, playing the remaining holes at one over to revive his round.
“It was fun and I didn’t feel as nervous as I thought I would have,” said DeSilva, whose round included three birdies, five bogeys and a double bogey at the par-four 15th.
“The golf course is playing hard. Pins were hard, golf course was long and windy.
“I wasted a few shots, made a few birdies. It was a good day and I can’t expect anything better for my first PGA Tour round.”
Lower down the pecking order tied for 124th is professional Camiko Smith who carded a nine-over 80 that included seven bogeys and a double bogey at the par-four 14th.
“It was a rough one, a little disappointed,” he said. “It was tough for everybody.
“Playing a PGA Tour event in 30-knot wind is a bit uneasy but I had to settle in and get going. You can’t just stay out there and play square.”
The pickings were indeed lean for Smith who squandered the only chance for birdie that came his way at the par-5 17th.
“Today was naked,” he added. “I hit 17 in two and three-putted so you have those days. It happens; it’s golf.”
Rounding off the local field at the bottom of the leaderboard is Ocean View Golf Club head golf professional Morris, who was 15-over with three holes left to play when the bad light forced the players off the course.
“I’m disappointed with the way I played because I didn’t play the way that I can play or the way I should play,” he said.
“It all comes down to I didn’t realise how nervous you get out there. I didn’t think I was going to get that, but I did.
“But it was so cool out there and I can’t wait to come back tomorrow.”