“If you’re going to go do something, you want to do it well. It’s embarrassing to stink,” Tony Romo said after his first round at the Safeway Open in Napa, California.
The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback should be thrilled then, because on Thursday he played well enough to be on the top half of a PGA Tour leaderboard, shooting a 2-under par 70 that put him in a tie for 51st place.
It’s not his first attempt at competing on the PGA Tour, but after just one round it looks like a safe bet it will be his most successful one.
Romo has entered three PGA tournaments before this one: The 2018 and 2019 Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship and the 2019 AT&T Byron Nelson. He missed the cut in all three of those events and shot scores in the 80s twice.
This time around, Romo — now the lead NFL analyst for CBS — is looking like he belongs. His opening-round 70 was better than 94 professionals and a full five shots better than Phil Mickelson’s 75.
Other notable names Romo bested include Justin Thomas (71), Jim Furyk (71), Hideki Matsuyama (72), Brandt Snedeker (73) and Fred Couples (74).
Romo’s round got off to a great start when he birdied the par-4 10th hole (his first hole of the day as he started on the back side of the course). He followed the birdie up with three routine pars but gave a stroke back when an errant approach shot on the 14th found a greenside bunker and led to his first bogey of the day.
Three more pars followed before Romo drained his second birdie of the day on 18, moving him back to 1-under.
Bogeys on holes 3 and 4 put Romo over par for the first time in his round, but he quickly bounced back and birdied the 5th.
Consecutive birdies on his final two holes of the day brought Romo to an impressive 2-under-par.
Romo needs another solid round Friday if he wants to make his first PGA Tour cut. It’s likely that the cut line will end up at 1-under or even par, meaning he’ll need to shoot 73 or 74 at the worst to have a chance.
If Romo does manage to make the cut, it will create a conflict with his day job as NFL analyst. He is scheduled to broadcast Sunday’s Chicago Bears-Minnesota Vikings game, which will, of course, be impossible if he is playing golf in California.
CBS is well aware of the potential conflict and has a backup plan in place, according to the New York Post.
If Romo is unavailable Sunday, CBS will move Boomer Esiason, who normally works on the networks “NFL Today” pregame show, to the broadcast booth.
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