With yet another new putter in his bag, Tiger Woods opened the Dell Technologies Championship with a one-over 72 Friday at TPC Boston. It was not the start he was looking for at the second FedEx Cup Playoffs event, but thanks to a difficult setup, Woods found himself just five shots back of the early leaders at the end of his round.
Woods is playing a new TaylorMade blade putter this week, but he didn’t get many good birdie looks with it, at least not in the early going. Through his first six holes — he started on the 10th — Woods didn’t have a single birdie try closer than 28 feet.
Overall, though, his putting did show an improvement over his lackluster performance on the greens at Ridgewood last week. Woods is currently ranked 14th in the field in strokes gained: putting at +1.598.
Woods’s round got off to a rough start with a bogey at 10. The culprit there was a poor drive that ended up in a native area, requiring a penalty drop.
Another bogey came at the par-4 13th. Woods hit a good tee shot into the fairway but his approach sailed long and left into a bunker. He was unable to make the green with his sand shot, leading to a 5. That moved Woods to two over.
Following another bogey at 16, Tiger finally got one shot back. He hit his first quality approach shot of the day, sticking it just under 10 feet at the par-4. He rolled that one in to get back to two over.
At the 2nd hole (his 11th of the day), Woods set up his best look at birdie all day when his approach into the par-5 settled six feet from the cup. But he failed to convert that quality chance, settling for a two-putt par.
Woods got another shot back at the short par-4 4th, where he nearly drove the green. A nice chip shot set up a 5-footer for his second birdie of the day.
But he gave that one back quickly, thanks to a poor second shot from the rough at 6 that didn’t reach the green.
Tiger smashed a monster 326-yard drive at the par-5 7th hole and successfully made the putting surface with his next shot. A two-putt birdie from 70 feet gave him his third birdie of the day.
At the next hole, he sank his longest putt off the round, a sliding 24-footer for a clutch par save to remain at one over. He also saved par from off the green at the last, closing out a first-round 72.