HOROWITZ STRIKES RIGHT NOTES

3 Dec 2013

By Colin Thompson, The Royal Gazette
Photo by Glenn Tucker

Rock singer Joe Horowitz struck all the right chords during the opening round of the Gosling’s Invitational yesterday.

With the Belmont Hills course on its best behaviour under calm, sunny skies, the American took full advantage, equalling the course and tournament record after signing off with an emphatic, eight-under par 62 to storm into a three-shot lead.

Horowitz’s bogey-free round contained eight birdies and equalled the 62 that compatriot Kirk Hanefeld shot three years ago.

“It is something about this place that gets me fired up and I love playing here,” said Horowitz, whose wife Julie is expecting twin boys next spring. “I did not do anything awesome; I putted well and did a lot of things very solid and I am very delighted with a 62.”

With the weather expected to deteriorate as the tournament progresses, Horowitz said that it was essential to make the most of yesterday’s tame conditions.

“We have some weather coming in the next three days, so I knew this was the day to do something a little nutty,” he added. “Weather-wise, this is the easiest this course is ever going to play.”

Horowitz kept the ball in the fairway and was equally as steady with his approach shots, hitting all 18 greens in regulation.

“I didn’t get myself in trouble and was able to gauge my distances very well,” he said. “I know this course well enough to know where you are not supposed to hit it and I was able to do that.”

Horowitz, who has just released a Christmas song on iTunes, was also flawless with the putter, rattling in birdies at four of the course’s toughest holes.

“Every putt I knew I had the right read,” he said. “I saw the lines with my putter and made eight birdies and no bogeys.”

Three shots off the pace are Bermuda’s Dwayne Pearman and Brian McCann, the former Nationwide Tour player, who both came in at five-under-par 65.

Pearman, the last local professional to win the tournament, carded six birdies and a solitary bogey at the par-five, 6th hole.

The Port Royal head professional made a dream start after birdieing the first three holes to make the turn at four under. He then parred the next seven holes before rolling in a birdie at the par-three 17th to place himself in the hunt.

“It was a perfect day for golf and I made a couple of putts and hit the ball OK,” said Pearman, who is five shots better off than his nearest local rivals, Nick Jones and Twilton Smith. “It is my first competitive round in months, but I am happy with the way I played.”

Canadian McCann, last year’s runner-up, carded seven birdies and two bogeys to get his tournament off to a solid start.

A further shot back in fourth is American Kent Fukushima, who shot a four-under-par 66.

Bill Walsh, the defending champion, was among seven players that carded one-under 69. “I am happy where I am,” the Canadian said. “I hit 17 greens and had 34 putts, so the ball-striking is there and, if I can make a few more putts, I will be OK.”

Also on 69 were local pair Jevon Roberts and Mark Phillips, who share the lead in the Amateur Division with a four-shot cushion over Joshua Cabrera, the defending champion. Roberts, the Bermuda Open and Bacardi Par 3 World amateur champion, had four birdies, a double bogey and a bogey.

“I am very pleased with that round,” he said. “It was good conditions for it, so I knew I had to come and shoot something low because tomorrow is going to be pretty windy. I just have to try and hang on.”

Phillips’s round contained an eagle at the par-five 12th hole, two birdies and four bogeys.

Hav Trott, the defending Senior Division champion, was among two players who came in at three-under 67.

The veteran stalwart had five birdies and two bogeys to storm into a six-stroke lead in his division.



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