After quick start, Woods falls back to pack at PGA

Posted: 12/08/2010 in PGA

Woods in the hunt at PGA after a 71

 

Tiger Woods birdied his last hole on Thursday to shoot  a one-under 71  in the first round of the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.

Woods  failed  to break par  in any of  his four rounds  last week at the WGC- Bridgestone  Invitational, a  tournament he  won seven  times, and  posted his worst finish as a professional.

Thursday  was certainly different in the last major of the season and Woods is already close to the lead.

Woods,  a four-time  PGA  Champion, is  three shots  behind  Bubba Watson  and Italy’s  Francesco  Molinari, who  both  posted  rounds  of four-under  68  on Thursday.

“That’s the way it goes. I mean, everyone has bad weeks,” said Woods. “Welcome to golf. It is what it is. Guys shoot 59 and don’t win. Fickle game.”

Jason  Day,  the young Australian  who won this  year’s Byron Nelson, and Ryan Moore both carded three-under 69s.

Phil  Mickelson is  in the afternoon wave  of tee times, but birdied his first hole.

Woods  and the whole  field had to wait a little over three hours to start the 92nd  PGA Championship.  Heavy fog rolled over Whistling Straits, so the first round won’t be completed until Friday morning.

Woods,  who  started on the  10th tee,  flew out of  the gate on Thursday with three  birdies  in his  first four holes.  He shared the  lead until an errant drive at the 15th cost him a stroke.

After  the  bogey at 15,  Woods appeared  to regress back  to his look of last week.  He’d hit  poor shots  and immediately  chase after  them. Once,  Woods’ driver  flew  out of his hands  after impact and  the result was bogeys at the par-five second and the par-three seventh.

Woods  was  even-par for the championship,  but hit a strong approach shot six feet  from the stick  at the ninth. He drained the birdie putt to get into red figures for the round.

“I played too good not to shoot under par, and it would have been very disappointing and frustrating to end up at even par as well as I played today,” acknowledged Woods.

Woods  hasn’t won a major in 2010, a year he’d likely soon forget. He tied for fourth  at both the Masters and U.S. Open, but hasn’t come close to contention since Pebble Beach.

Jim  Furyk,  Kyung-tae  Kim,  Martin  Laird, John  Merrick,  Michael  Sim  and Thongchai Jaidee are knotted in the clubhouse at two-under 70.

Defending  champion  Y.E. Yang  had  an  even-par  72  playing with  Woods  on Thursday.

– Stephen (DS LLC.)

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