Two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry fired his second consecutive 4-over 74Friday at the Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae. Curry missed the cut by six strokes in his Web.com Tour debut but bested six professionals and an amateur in the 156-player field. Andrew Yun tied the low round of the day with an 8-under 62 to take the solo lead by two at 13-under 127.
“After how yesterday went, I’m extremely proud of backing that up with another solid round because it could have gone either way,” Curry said. “It could have been all those 80, 90 talks going into this tournament. But definitely proud to, like I said, have a consistent effort for 36 holes and kind of get my feet wet.”
Curry’s first-round 74 shocked much of the golfing world and people wondered if he’d be able to replicate it. After bogeys at four of his first eight holes, Curry played his last 10 holes in even-par to card another 74.
“Obviously to shoot even par on the back, tried to keep it together after a shaky start was definitely a proud moment,” Curry said. “No doubles today either, so I’ll take that. Staying consistent, hitting decent shots and making a couple putts. Two birdies was good. Everything was just an unbelievable experience. To shoot two 74s, I’ll take that.”
Over 36 holes, Curry hit 13 of 26 fairways, 17 of 36 greens in regulation, and averaged 29 putts per round. Although his pair of 74s weren’t enough to earn him tee times on the weekend, he left more than fulfilled with the experience of competing against the world’s best in a different sport than he’s used to.
“There’s 154 guys out here that have unbelievable talent to fight every week to do what they do, so to be able to see them up close and personal was a treat for me,” Curry said. “Obviously, I want to thank Ellie Mae and Web.com Tour for giving me this opportunity because it was a dream come true, for sure. Yeah, this is two days of golf that I’ll remember for a long time.”
Despite an impressive showing in his first start, Curry’s not ready to trade in sneakers for golf shoes just yet.
“It obviously gets you thinking like if I had some time to actually practice and pursue some coaching maybe or whatnot, that I can take the game to the next level,” Curry said. “Who knows. As I’ve heard before, I’ll stay in my lane and just enjoy.”
Until then, Curry leaves with an appreciation for the guys he competed against this week and new friends to follow on Tour.
“I mean, they’re the next up-and-coming guys,” Curry said. “It’s very similar to like the D-League in the NBA where there’s a lot of talent and opportunity. I know some of these guys are just itching to get their card and prove themselves on the next level. It’s unbelievable to see their consistency, the talent that they have out there, and obviously the game of golf I think is in great shape when it comes to the freshness of talent. How competitive the PGA TOUR is, it has to be crazy because I don’t know why some of these guys aren’t there.”
Yun, who went to nearby Stanford, looked like he might steal the show from Curry for a while with a potential sub-60 round in the morning wave. After parring his first two holes, Yun played his next eight holes in 8-under to set off a potential 59 watch. His last birdie of the day, though, came at the par-5 15th to get to 9-under for the day with three to play, and he failed to add two more.
“I got off to a really good start,” Yun said. “The par-5s are kind of the ones that were kind of key. I eagled both of the ones on the front – No. 3 and No. 9 – and I was 8-under through 10, so it was obviously a very hot start. It kind of cooled off after that, but it was a good day.”
Yun, who has already locked up his PGA TOUR card, already has four top-10s this season, including two runner-ups, but feels like a win is the missing item on this season’s resume. He’s hoping that changes this weekend as he takes the first 36-hole lead of his career into the weekend.
“I think lately too I’ve been playing really well. I want to be in contention more. Early in the year I was in contention a few times and lately I haven’t been in contention as much,” Yun said. “But just to be on that back nine on Sunday with a chance to win or in the lead, it’s kind of what we play for – that feeling and that adrenaline rush. Hopefully that can happen this week, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Brandon Harkins of nearby Walnut Creek, Calif., is two shots back of Yun in second at 11-under 129 after a 5-under 65. Nicholas Thompson, Nate Lashley, Cameron Wilson, Martin Piller, Carlos Ortiz, Rob Oppenheim, and Jim Knous are all three shots back in a tie for third at 10-under 130.