The PGA Tour is visiting the eastern tip of the North Atlantic Ocean and the infamous Bermuda Triangle, which is best known as a place where planes, ships and people are alleged to have gone mysteriously missing. But this week at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship, it is where a lot of veterans are finding their game.
None more so than Sweden’s Alex Noren, who made a tournament-record 11 birdies in calm conditions Thursday morning at Port Royal Golf Course in Southampton, Bermuda. Noren tied the course record with a 10-under 61 and set his personal low 18-hole scoring mark in 510 official stroke-play rounds on the Tour.
“It was a long time ago I had like a really low round, you know, lower than maybe 5, 6 under, so I feel good,” Noren said. “That was pretty much the closest I’ve got to the hole in a very, very long time.”
That included finishing the day in style by stuffing his approach inside a foot for his third birdie in his final four holes. Noren, for one, hopes that the trademark wind at Port Royal, which is the course’s main defense, will pick up as the tournament continues.
“I like the wind,” Noren said. “If it’s not windy, it’s like you’ve got to keep these unbelievable low rounds up and it’s not that easy.”
It’s been a bit of a struggle this season for the 41-year-old Noren. He has 10 career wins on the DP World Tour and once ranked as high as No. 8 in the world but remains winless in 162 career starts on the PGA Tour. He’s dipped to 62nd in the world and recorded just three top-10 finishes this season.
“It’s been a weird year,” he said, but he’s trending in the right direction after a T-3 at the Shriners Children’s Open last month.
If Noren has had a weird year, Robert Garrigus has had a downright dreadful one. He’s missed the cut in all eight of his PGA Tour starts this season and 15 straight overall. But on Thursday, he signed for a bogey-free 8-under 63.
“My putting, it was just as good as I think I’ve putted in, I don’t know, 5 years,” he said.
Garrigus, 45, was a late addition into the tournament, flying to Bermuda figuring he’d enjoy a vacation if he failed to get a spot.
“Just knowing that I was playing in a tournament like gave me a little juice,” he said. “I was just coming out to shake the rust off and have a good time today and I guess I did. It was a lot of fun.”
He’s tied for second with Dylan Wu and Vincent Whaley, who posted 63 out of the first group of the…