February 15, 2018

Tiger shoots 1-over 72 in round 1 of Genesis Open

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – Tiger Woods shook off a bad break and a few errant drives to card a 1-over-par 72 on Thursday in the first round of the $7.2 million Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club.

Woods is tied for 63rd, six strokes behind co-leaders Patrick Cantlay and Tony Finau, who fired 66s.

Making his second start of 2018, Woods forged five birdies but sustained four bogeys and a double. The latter came after an opening birdie at the short but testy par-4 10th, when he blocked his drive way right on the par-5 and it apparently lodged in a eucalyptus tree.

“I wasn’t very happy,” said Woods, who was forced to declare a lost ball, walk back to the tee and re-hit, and wound up with a 7.

The best he could recall, the last time that happened was at the 2012 U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, when his ball stayed in a cypress tree.

“Eucalyptus trees normally don’t keep golf balls, but this one did,” he said.

An early starter with Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas, Woods bogeyed 12 and was suddenly 2-over.

“I was like, ‘Oh, man, here we go,’ ’’ said Woods. “I’ve got to somehow turn this around.”

He did, thanks to birdies at 13, 17, 1 and 8. Woods also leaned on his short after several sketchy approaches.

Woods gained confidence last month in his season-debut at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, where his body held up and he finished pain-free despite putting himself in some awkward positions off the tee. He wound up tying for 23rd in his first PGA Tour start in 12 months.

“Some of those shots I went after at Torrey, I mean, I didn’t feel anything, and that’s the confidence I need,” Woods said. “That validation that I’m good, I was able to find that at Torrey.”

On Thursday in cool conditions, Woods hit eight of 14 fairways and seven of 18 greens, but compensated by using only 25 putts.

“I made a lot of silly bogeys,” he said. “But I hung in there.”

He saved his best scrambling for last. At the par-4 ninth, Woods pushed his drive into a fairway bunker on the adjacent 10th hole, struck a masterful second shot just over the back fringe and two-putted for a par.

McIlroy saw plenty of reason for optimism.

“He hit some great drives coming in,” said McIlroy, who shot 71.

Woods must limit his mistakes on Friday to qualify for the weekend in his first appearance at Riviera since 2006.

“I’ve got to clean up my card,” he said.

Woods, McIlroy and Thomas start on the first tee at 12:02 p.m. PT.

Woods is also the tournament host. Proceeds from the event benefit the TGR Foundation.