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Late stumble costs Tiger Woods in first round of PGA Championship

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — With potential bad weather looming Friday and the need to go low in the opening round at Valhalla Golf Club, Tiger Woods was in position to finish under par in the first round of the championship of the PGA.

Then he three-putted on the 8th and 9th greens (his 17th and 18th holes) to finish with a disappointing 1-over 72 on an otherwise encouraging day.

Woods, playing for the first time since the Masters, showed excellent scrambling ability as he struggled to reach the fairways early on. But he managed to arrive at the 8th hole par 3 to 1 under par after a birdie at the 7th, only to betray it.

“I whipped to three the last two holes. It wasn’t very good,” Woods said. “Bad speed on the 8; I whipped him past the hole. And 9, be brief. Hit it with the heel of the putter and block the second. So it wasn’t very good on the last two holes.

Woods actually made several good putts to save a bogey at the 11th and to save par at the 12th while trying to find his form.

“It’s just the flow of competition,” he said. “It probably took me three holes to get back to competition and get a feel for competitive ball striking, the adrenaline, the temperatures, the speed of the green. These are all things that I normally adapt to very quickly, and it just took me a few holes to get into it.

Woods traveled to Valhalla last week for a practice session at the site where he won the 2000 PGA Championship. And he came to the course to work on his game on Sunday before daily practice leading up to the tournament.

Valhalla isn’t as strenuous as Augusta National, but it’s still quite hilly in places and long, playing just under 7,600 yards for the first round.

Woods made the cut for the 24th straight time to set a Masters record, including a solid 72 in the second round when many fell short. But the day included extra holes due to bad weather and Woods apparently suffered back problems during a third-round 82, his highest at Augusta National.

He finished 60th and last among those who made the cut, his worst finish through 72 holes.

“Every day is a little different. Some days it’s better than others,” Woods said of his physical issues. My body is like this. Some days it feels good, and other days it’s a little difficult.

“I’m getting stronger, that’s for sure. It’s just that I don’t play many competitive rounds. I haven’t played since the Masters. So it’s a little different being at home and playing on a flat course in Florida.

Woods is scheduled to play at 1:29 p.m. Friday, when there is a high chance of rain and thunderstorms throughout the afternoon.

News Source : www.si.com
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