Bertsch weathers tough conditions

Shane Bertsch shot a 10-under-par 62 in windy desert conditions to take the first-round lead at the Bob Hope Classic.

Shane Bertsch shot a 10-under-par 62 in windy desert conditions to take the first-round lead at the 90-hole Bob Hope Classic in Palm Springs, California.
Played over five rounds of stroke play in a pro-am format with a professional partnering amateur teams of three on four different par-72 courses, the event is an annual oddity on the PGA Tour and there was some equally quirky weather on the opening day in the Coachella Valley.
As the sunshine disappeared, temperatures dropped and the wind got up, American Bertsch was not disturbed by the changes as his round progressed as he posted a bogey-free, 10-birdie round at the 6,868-yard Nicklaus course at PGA West.
That was enough to give Bertsch a two-stroke lead over compatriots Alex Prugh and Jeff Quinney, who played the same course, the shortest of the four in play this week.
Prugh and Quinney stand one shot ahead of an American quartet featuring tour veteran J P Hayes, whose 65 came on the Palmer course at PGA West, as did Joe Ogilvie’s, Garrett Willis (Nicklaus course) and George McNeill (La Quinta).
Heath Slocum, last year’s Barclays winner during the FedEx Cup play-offs, posted a 66 at Palmer to form part of a six-way tie for eighth place.
Canada’s Mike Weir was the highest placed non-American on five under par following his 67 at Palmer.
“There are usually good conditions and you can work on your game but it was a bit of a battle out there today,” former Masters champion Weir told the Golf Channel.
“It was different. The wind was pretty consistent on the front nine but on the back nine it was really bouncing around.”
Defending champion Pat Perez got his defence up and running with a 68 while Sweden’s Jesper Parnevik, the 2000 Bob Hope Classic champion and 2006 joint runner-up, was along with Norway’s Henrik Bjornstad carded the same score for the lowest European rounds of the day.
England’s Justin Rose, Sweden’s Fredrik Jacobson and Germany’s Alex Cejka shot two-under-par 70s while Englishman Brian Davis and Scotland’s Martin Laird ended their days one over par.