Rose's early lead holds up; Woods 4 back

By Doug FergusonMarch 21, 2013, 10:29 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Justin Rose started out as another guy in Tiger Woods' group Thursday at Bay Hill. He wound up in the lead.

Rose put on a clinic with the putter and ran off four straight birdies late in his round of 7-under 65. That gave him a four-shot lead in the Arnold Palmer Invitational among those who played early in a chilly breeze.

Woods had two sloppy bogeys from greenside bunkers and didn't hit it as well as he did when he won Doral two weeks ago. But he made enough key par saves and manhandled the par 5s to scratch out a 69, a reasonable start as he tries to win Bay Hill for the eighth time and return to No. 1 in the world.

It was only the sixth time in 31 rounds at Bay Hill that Rose broke 70.


Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, videos and photos

Highlights: Rose bests Woods on Day 1


''If you had said I would shoot a 65 on the range this morning, I would have probably said, 'How many holes have I played?' And that didn't change much,'' Rose said. ''The first five, six holes out there were a grind.''

John Huh had a chance to catch him late in the afternoon, but needing a birdie on the final hole, he found a fairway bunker on No. 9 and took bogey for a 67. John Rollins and Brad Fritsch were at 68.

Rose and Woods played in the morning, the tougher side of the draw because of chilly temperatures and a strong breeze. The rough was thick without being terribly high. The hole locations were in spots Woods had not seen very often. The scores were reflective of a challenging morning until Rose and Woods began to pick up the pace on the par-5 16th.

Both made eagle from inside 15 feet – Woods hit a 9-iron for a second shot on a hole that was playing downwind – but that's where their fortunes changed. Woods came up short in a bunker, hit a poor shot and took bogey on the 17th. Rose holed a 20-foot birdie putt.

On the front nine, both made three straight birdies starting on the par-5 fourth. Rose doubled his lead over Woods on the par-3 seventh with a 12-foot birdie putt, and Woods came up short in the bunker and failed to save par.

Also in the group at 69 with Woods were Ryo Ishikawa of Japan, Nick Watney, Sean O'Hair and Bill Haas, who bogeyed his last two holes.

Woods played the played the par 5s in 5 under, bringing his career total at Bay Hill to 118-under par.

British Open champion Ernie Els played with Rose and Woods and disappeared quickly. The Big Easy kept pulling his tee shots and getting into trouble, dropping five shots in the opening five holes. He rallied with a 4-iron to 2 feet for birdie on the 18th, and a 9-iron to about the same tap-in range on his final hole at No. 9 to salvage a 75.

Others weren't so fortunate. U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson and two-time major champion Angel Cabrera each had 80. Masters champion Bubba Watson birdied three of his last four holes for a 74.

Brandt Snedeker, playing for the first time in five weeks because of a rib injury, took triple bogey on his 17th hole and had a 76. Snedeker's 5-iron on the 17th didn't quite clear the hazard where the sand meets the lake. Coming off his injury, he wasn't interesting in trying to gouge it out, which he probably couldn't have done, anyway. At least he had his health at the end of the round. ''Encouraged,'' he said about his ribs.

Phil Mickelson felt terrible about his swing, and it showed. Even so, the four-time major champion made an eagle putt on the 16th to reach 1 under, only to throw those shots away with three-putt bogeys on the last two holes.

''I feel terrible walking off the course,'' Mickelson said, and this was right after he was randomly selected for a drug test.

For Rose, it was all about the putter - and he didn't even need any help from Steve Stricker, who gave Woods a key putting tip at Doral.

Rose began to work hard on his putting after the U.S. Open last summer, and he's had some decent rounds. At Medinah last September, he knocked in a 45-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole against Phil Mickelson, in effect the difference in Europe winning the cup.

''I dedicated myself at making a few changes and getting better at that part of the game,'' Rose said. ''I've had some good days, no doubt. And today was probably the first real hot day I've had with the blade in a long, long time. We all know it's about consistency and that's what I'm still working towards.

''It's just fun to know that I obviously can do it, and I enjoy a lot of confidence from that.''

For all his birdies, it was crucial for Rose not to drop any shots after an early bogey on the 11th, and he did that with par saves on the 14th and 15th. Just as key was the 18th, when he played short of the water for his second shot from the rough, and then made a 10-footer for par.

Putting also saved Woods.

He spent close to an hour on the range after his round to work on his driver and his irons, though he did enough right to stay in the game. It started on his opening hole when an approach from the fairway bunker went over the green and up a slight hill near the television tower. In grass still damp from the morning dew, he had to chip off the first cut of rough, down a closely mown swale to a slightly elevated green that ran away from him. The chip was so good it looked like a lag putt.

''It was one of my good ones,'' Woods said.

He also made good par saves around the turn that kept him at 1 under before running off three straight birdies. But it was the other bogeys that irritated him.

Woods was tied for the lead briefly after his eagle on the 16th, only to make bogey from the bunker on the 17th and another bogey on the 18th when he hit a good pitch from short of the green to 6 feet and missed the putt.

''Days happen like this,'' Woods said. ''It was cool this morning, and it just didn't work out. But I scored well, and I kept myself in the tournament. I'm right there. Justin played a beautiful round of golf today. He had every single facet of his game working, so we had a good time out there.

''I got a lot out of this round, and I threw away a few shots as well.''

DIVOTS: Jimmy Johnson says he will be job sharing this year as a caddie. Usually that means one player uses two caddies. In this case, it's one caddie for two players. Johnson will stay on the job for Steve Stricker, who is playing only 11 events this year, and will work for Harris English the other weeks. Johnson started with English last week at Innisbrook and is working with him again at Bay Hill. ... For the second straight week, someone made a 10. This time it was Patrick Reed, who hit two in the water on the 18th, his sixth in a back bunker and a three-putt for his 10. That was his first on tour. John Daly last week at Innisbrook made his 15th score of 10 or worse on a hole.

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Watch: Tiger's drive startles strolling duck

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 25, 2018, 7:21 pm

Tiger Woods split the eighth fairway with a 287-yard, 3-wood on Sunday and startled a duck (goose?) who was merely out and about for a stroll at PGA National.

The duck (goose?) walked away under its own power, and Woods followed up with a wedge to inside 9 feet and his third birdie of the front nine.

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Watch: Tiger's Sunday birdies at the Honda

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 25, 2018, 6:40 pm

One day after he left a barrage of birdie opportunities out on the golf course, Tiger Woods worked his way into red figures early on Sunday.

Seven off the pace to start the day, Woods found the first fairway, hit the first green and rolled in a 20-footer for his firist birdie of the day.

After narrowly missing a 10-footer for what would have been another circle at the par-5 third, Woods came right back at the fourth, flying an approach from 148 yards to 9 feet and finishing the job.

At the par-4 eighth, Woods went with 3-wood off the tee and startled a duck that was walking down the middle of the fairway.

The duck walked away, and Tiger stuffed his approach inside nine feet, setting up his third birdie of the day.

Woods dropped his first shot of the day at the par-4 ninth after hooking his tee and then short siding himself right of the green. He made the turn in 2-under 33.

(More coming...)

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New-look Korda wins after serious jaw surgery

By Will GrayFebruary 25, 2018, 6:31 pm

If the pictures of Jessica Korda from the Honda LPGA Thailand cause you to do a double-take, you're not alone.

Korda's world-class talent was on full display this week in Asia, where she won by four shots, but so too was her new-look face. The 24-year-old underwent serious jaw surgery in December, a final attempt to address a significant overbite that led to ailments ranging from facial cramping to headaches to sleep apnea.

The procedure was intense. Doctors first broke her nose, then broke her jaw in five different places - three on the top, and two on the bottom. She now has 27 screws in her face, and the physical result still requires some adjustment for a woman who now has five career LPGA wins.

"I look at pictures of myself and I don't feel like I look like that person," Korda told Golfweek. "I don't know who that is. And then I look at pictures of my old self and that doesn't look like me either."


Full-field scores from the Honda LPGA Thailand


The Dec. 7 surgery left Korda unable to eat, with her mother reportedly feeding her through a syringe for "weeks." Korda's facial structure before the surgery was such that she was only using 20 percent of her teeth when chewing food.

But despite returning to practice only six weeks ago and still dealing with lingering numbness in her face, Korda promptly dusted a world-class field in her first start back. She shot 25 under for the week, highlighted by a second-round 62, leaving the likes of Lexi Thompson and Ariya Jutanugarn in her wake.

After a difficult winter, Korda's look may have changed but her game clearly remains unaffected.

"Coming in after surgery, I didn't know what to expect," Korda told reporters. "Obviously when I look at myself, I still don't feel like I look like myself yet. That will come. I'm just very, very happy. All the hard work I was putting in in the off-season when I could has paid off rather quickly."

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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 25, 2018, 4:45 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.