There was plenty of good — and some bad, too — for Tiger Woods during an up-and-down Thursday at the Genesis Open. In the end, he finished with an uneven round of 1-over-par 72, well off the lead but certainly not out of contention.
Playing alongside Justin Thomas (who shot 2-under 69) and Rory McIlroy (71) in the 7:22 a.m. tee time, Woods's round got off to a promising start. He hit a neat wedge in to 7 feet on the par-4 10th, his first of the day, and his putt died in the center of the cup for an opening birdie.
We love the smell of birdies in the morning. pic.twitter.com/W2hcWe7bGZ— GOLF.com (@GOLF_com) February 15, 2018
But a strange moment ensued on the tee at the par-5 11th, when Woods blocked his tee shot some 30 yards right of target, clattering through a tree. It wasn't clear whether the ball ever came down or had disappeared in the grasses beyond. The whereabouts of his Bridgestone unknown, Woods re-teed and made a double bogey 7. He missed another drive to the right on the 12th hole and made another bogey. But he rebounded with a 15-footer for birdie on No. 13 to continue a schizophrenic start.
After his first par of the day on No. 14, Woods repeated his earlier recipe — driver right, recovery shot, bogey — on No. 15. Still, a neat wedge to 5 feet led to birdie at 17.
Count it. Back to +1 thru 8 pic.twitter.com/8VUammtoQU— Ben Everill (@BEverillPGATOUR) February 15, 2018
Woods seemed to have settled down as he made the turn with another birdie at No. 1. Two-putt pars at 2 and 3 and a neat up-and-down at 4 kept him at even par before a particularly unforced error — an iron off the tee that started left and went lefter — led to bogey at No. 5.
A vicious lip-out at No. 7 meant another bogey, pushing Woods well back on the leaderboard.
An aggressive wedge to four feet gave Woods his fifth birdie of the day on No. 8, his day's penultimate hole. But he blocked his tee shot on No. 9 so far right he ended up in the bunker on the 10th hole, leaving one last challenge to negotiate. A clever second shot to the back fringe followed by two putts left him with a 1-over-par 72, well off the lead but right in the pack.
On the day, Woods hit 8 of 14 fairways and 7 of 18 greens. He made five birdies against four bogeys and the lone double bogey.