Two names that many probably aren’t familiar with are currently at the top of the Valero Texas Open Leaderboard after one round. Those names are Matt Bettencourt and Peter Tomasulo. Each golfer carded a five under par 67 in the first round, to take a one shot lead into Friday.
Bettencourt turned pro in 2002 and has one career victory under his belt, which came at the 2010 Reno-Tahoe Open. He’s been considered a bit of a journeyman throughout his tenure on the PGA Tour. He’s suffered from severe asthma for a while, but thanks to change in medication last year, he seems to have found the right mixture to control the ailment. It took him some time to adjust to the medication, as it can cause jitters and shakiness. That’s generally not a recipe for success on the links.
Now, the man that was ranked 184th in FedEx Cup points heading into this week is leading a tournament that features the likes of Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington. It’s no surprise to Bettencourt, though. “My game hasn’t been the concern,” Bettencourt said. “… I’ve gone back and forth from three to four different inhalers and some different medications, which has helped my health, but I haven’t been able to play golf with it at all.”
Tomasulo is trying with all his might to retain his Tour card. He certainly benefitted by going out in the afternoon when the weather was significantly more conducive to scoring. “I just played a solid round of golf to go around here with no bogeys,” Tomasulo said. “We got a good end of the draw, I think, with the weather calming down late in the day.”
He started the season with the opportunity to play in eight events, thanks to a medical exemption, where he must earn at least $539,522 in order to extend the exemption. After five events this year, he’s only amassed just over $65,000. The winning share of this week’s purse is $1,116,000. That could go a long way to making sure he stays on Tour for a while.