PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — It was a tale of two rounds on the opening day of the Honda Classic for twin brothers Pierceson and Parker Coody.
Pierceson shot a bogey-free 4-under-par 66 Thursday on the rugged Champion course at PGA National Resort & Spa, which put him a shot behind early leaders Billy Horschel and Joseph Bramlett.
After getting off to a good start, Parker struggled home to shoot a 4-over 74. The brothers are the grandsons of 1971 Masters champion Charles Coody.
“It was really nice,” said Pierceson, a two-time winner on the Korn Ferry Tour of his first PGA Tour start as a professional. (He played as an amateur in the 2021 U.S. Open.)
“I hit my irons great. I made some really nice putts. Had some really cool par saves. It kept my round going and let me get a few more on the back nine. As y’all know, those last few as it gets windy on the Bear Trap and whatnot are a little dicey, so I was happy to make some pars.”
Pierceson Coody birdied the par-3 7th, hitting his tee shot to 4 feet, 6 inches, then followed with a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 8 to go out in 33. He birdied the par-4 11th, sinking a 23-footer, and added a birdie at the par-4 14th with an 11-foot putt.
Asked if he felt nervous, Pierceson said, “It really just feels like another professional event. I’ve only played about 13 or 14 professional, whatever, 15 events. But other than the big grandstands, it’s not that different. You’re just playing golf, you’re trying to put a good score together. No real nerves out there. Just happy to play well.”
Parker Coody, playing in the threesome in front of his brother, went out in 1-under 34 with two birdies and a bogey on the front nine. But he started the back with a bogey at the par-4 10th and followed that with a double bogey at the 11th. His approach on the par 4 went over the green and he needed two shots to get on the green, where he two-putted.
He had another double at the par-4 13th when his tee shot went way left, forcing him to take a one-shot penalty and hit a provisional tee shot. That drive found the fairway and he hit his approach to just under eight feet, but two-putted. He parred out to come in with a 5-over 40.
“Rough day. I made a couple of good par putts and had some momentum on the front nine, and then the back nine I hit a couple of loose tee shots and before you know it I made two doubles and you just can’t do that around here,” Parker Coody said. “And I didn’t make any putts on the back nine, which obviously didn’t help the cause. Before you know it, you’re 4 over.
“Now you’ve put yourself in a position where I have to go low tomorrow.”
The tournament is his first PGA Tour event as a pro. A member of the Korn Ferry Tour, Parker Coody played as an amateur in the Shiners Hospitals for Children Open in 2020. The 7,125-yard Champion course is one of the most challenging on the PGA Tour, especially for someone making his first Tour start.
“It’s a tough course, but luckily everyone’s got to play it. I’ve got to make a few putts and hit some good tee shots, which I just didn’t do today,” said Parker, whose father, Kyle, was his caddie.
Asked if he’s ready to fire his caddie, Parker said, “Not yet. We’ll see how he does tomorrow.”