Golfers go low in Round 1 of American Express

Talialaina Letoi

The American Express is in full swing in La Quinta and Round 1 is officially in the books. Professional golfers took advantage of the weather conditions here in the desert including La Quinta High School Grad Tom Whitney who is just 4 shots off the lead.

“I was actually really excited to start with this rotation. Although Stadium can bite you, it’s pretty generous off the tee,” says Whitney. “I go into La Quinta tomorrow, after getting the nerves out of the first 18 holes, play a little tighter golf course, but it’s also very gettable.”

He carded a 66 for the day and put himself in contention. But if scorecards had pictures, you’d see some pretty crazy shot creations from the 34-year-old who recently secured his PGA TOUR card on the Korn Ferry Tour this past fall. He’d end the day with eight birdies — six of them in his last nine.

Screen Shot 2024 01 18 At 6.18.20 Pm

Whitney also says he saw a lot of familiar faces and could feel the support being back out in the desert.
“My parents are here. Had an old teacher friend. I saw a couple Air Force Academy logos out there. I know, come the weekend, I’ll have some good numbers.”
Despite the nerves, he says he’s more comfortable this time around.

“Yeah there were a couple nerves, but, honestly, I think that’s more just my last competitive round was in October. So, just getting back into it feels really good. There’s a lot less pressure to play than when I was invited to play here,” says Whitney. “Any time you come out as a sponsor invite, you really want to perform. I’ve kind of made it here on my own merit and, of course, I would love to play well in front of all these people that know me and I grew up with, but at the same time there’s a long season ahead and I’m just grateful to be out here.”

Whitney tees off at 9:36am on No. 10 at La Quinta Country Club.




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