Sharp putting keeps Tiger in contention at Sherwood
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
THOUSAND OAKS, California (Reuters) - With his game markedly better than this time a year ago, tournament host Tiger Woods was happy enough after grinding out a two-under-par 70 in Thursday's opening round of the World Challenge.
Though Woods did not strike the ball as well as he did in Wednesday's pro-am competition, he sank several par putts from around 10 feet to remain in contention and ended an overcast day at Sherwood Country Club just three strokes off the lead.
The American world number three has triumphed five times in the elite invitational event and, at a hilly venue he knows better than anyone else in the 18-player field, he has a good opportunity to claim his fourth victory this year.
"I didn't hit it very good today, so it was nice to scrape out a good score," Woods told reporters after mixing three birdies with a lone bogey and a total of 29 putts to finish three behind compatriot Nick Watney.
"I made a few good par putts to keep the round going. I kept myself in the tournament. Could have easily shot myself out of the tournament but I kept myself in it."
Playing his first tournament since he tied for fourth at the PGA Tour-sanctioned CIMB Classic in Malaysia last month, Woods said he was not at all rusty with his game.
"I just felt a little off," the 36-year-old said. "Even warming up I didn't quite feel it was where I needed to have it. I had it last night when I was hitting golf balls, and that was nice.
"Unfortunately I just didn't have it like I did last night. I'll do some work here and hopefully shore it up for tomorrow." Continued...