(Reuters) - Tony Romo acknowledged the unforgiving nature of professional golf after carding five-over-par 77 in the opening round at the Corales Puntacana Championship in the Dominican Republic on Thursday.
The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback bogeyed the first two holes but clawed back to even par through 12 holes at Corales Golf Club.
With a decent score beckoning, however, he dropped five shots in the next four holes to end the day ahead of only two players and 14 strokes behind leader Brice Garnett.
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"I was nervous. I think I knew going in I was going to be," Romo told Golf Channel.
"I three-putted twice early in the round (and) that's just nerves ... The three-putts add up. That's something I'll work on and I think I'll be better tomorrow."
Romo also regretted a couple of poor tee shots, but overall was satisfied with his long game.
"I hit some really good shots. I had a chance to be under par pretty easily for a while and then two or three shots on the back nine cost me.
"That's golf. Over 18 holes and 72 your flaws start to show at some point."
The 37-year-old Romo, who played 156 NFL games for the Cowboys before retiring in 2017, is not the first celebrity athlete from another sport to try his hand at tournament golf.
NBA player Stephen Curry, of the Golden State Warriors, shot two rounds of 74 on the secondary Buy.Com Tour last year.
While Romo battled, Garnett notched nine birdies for a nine-under 63 and a one-stroke lead over Canadian Corey Conners.
The Caribbean event, which clashes with the WGC-Match Play, is being contested by a mix of veterans and journeymen.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Ed Osmond)