Tiger Woods takes lead at own ATT National

By Doug FergusonJuly 3, 2009, 4:00 pm
AT&T NationalBETHESDA, Md. ' The best of Tiger Woods came Friday when his game was falling apart.
 
Woods lived up to his hopes of being a greedy host when he salvaged his round during a shaky stretch in the middle and shot 4-under 66 to take a one-shot lead at his AT&T National with the lowest 36-hole ever at Congressional Country Club.
 
Either I hit it pretty close to the hole, within 10 feet, or I was missing greens, Woods said. So it was a little bit of two ends today. It was nice to actually get a score out of it.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods stares down a shot in Round 2. (Getty Images)
Woods was at 10-under 130, breaking by one shot the previous 36-hole score at Congressional set last year by Tom Pernice Jr. and Jeff Overton. Woods had a one-shot lead over Rod Pampling, who had a 64 to boost his chances of qualifying for the British Open.
 
Defending champion Anthony Kim couldnt build on his course-record 62 from the opening round. He played in the afternoon, after Woods set the target, and caught him briefly before missing too many fairways and having to settle for a 70 that put him two behind.
 
Jim Furyk, adding more star power to the leaderboard, had a 67 and was alone in fourth.
 
Perhaps more daunting than Woods record 36-hole score is his record on the PGA Tour when he has at least a share of the 36-hole lead. He is 31-6, having won the last 11 times from that spot dating to 2004 at the Byron Nelson Championship.
 
While some of the birdies were pure, such as 5-iron within 4 feet of a tucked flag on the 13th, it was his worst golf that showed why Woods contends as often as he does.
 
He twice hit tee shots into the rough and couldnt get to the green. Another tee shot went into the bunker. He missed the green at a par 3 on the wrong side of the hole. From the middle of the fairway, he hit a miserable shot into a hollow of thick grass.
 
Woods played that five-hole stretch in 1 under.
 
Thats why the guy is at such a high level, said U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover, who played with Woods and shot 66 to join the group at 5-under 135. When things are going bad, he can rely on his short game. He just doesnt waste any shots. If hes losing shots, its because of a bad break or a bad lie.
 
There were ample opportunities to fall back.
 
Unable to reach the 17th green from a thick lie in the rough, Woods holed a 6-foot par putt. He pushed his 3-wood into the right rough on the 18th and had to punch under some limbs and let the ball roll toward the green, but not too far because of water all around it. He putted from off the green 70 feet away and knocked in a 5-footer for par.
 
The birdie came from a fairway bunker, the ball spinning back to pin-high, 5 feet away. Then came a scary chip from the side of a mound, which he flopped with enough spin to tap in a 2-footer. And on the third hole, having short-sided himself again, Woods pitched perfectly to a green running away from him and saved another par with a 4-foot putt.
 
Thats how you keep yourself in a golf tournament, Woods said. I made a couple of big putts ' 17, 18, good up-and-down on 2 ' and it kept me going. I played well early, and its all about keeping your momentum.
 
Woods will play in the final pairing of the third round with Pampling, a familiar face from their many morning practice rounds at the majors. Pampling was in the first group off Friday morning, ran off three birdies through five holes, and didnt get unsettled by a lone bogey when he missed the fairway on the sixth hole, which plays as a par 4 at 516 yards.
 
I just didnt do anything wrong and kept myself out of trouble, Pampling said.
 
He has two weeks left to try to qualify for the British Open, but would need at least a runner-up finish this week to have a chance. Otherwise, he is headed for the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond.
 
Most eyes were behind Pampling, however, with the prospects of a Woods-Kim shootout at Congressional. Kim is regarded as the most promising young American to challenge Woods, and despite a swing that deserted him midway through the round, hes only two behind.
 
I hate the way I hit the ball today, Kim said. My swing got loose and I couldnt find it out there. If I can stay focused and stay positive, Ill be in good shape.
 
Kim spent the rest of the afternoon on the range, pounding tee shots until he found a fix.
 
Man, I didnt hit one like that all day, he said after one shot.
 
He still has 36 holes, as do many others. A dozen players were separated by five shots, including U.S. Amateur champion Danny Lee, who had a 67. Even so, it starts with a familiar name at the top.
 
He can be playing great and then you really dont have a lot of chance of beating him, Pampling said. And then hes just playing so-so and hes still right there with a chance to win coming down the last nine holes. Hes just amazing how consistent he is.
 
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    Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

    By Tiger TrackerFebruary 23, 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.


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    J. Korda fires flawless 62, leads by 4 in Thailand

    By Associated PressFebruary 23, 2018, 12:48 pm

    CHONBURI, Thailand – Jessica Korda shot a course-record 62 at the Honda LPGA Thailand on Friday to lead by four strokes after the second round.

    Playing her first tournament since having jaw surgery, Korda made eight birdies and finished with an eagle to move to 16 under par at the halfway point, a 36-hole record for the event.

    ''That was a pretty good round, pretty special,'' she said. ''Just had a lot of fun doing it.''


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    Korda is the daughter of former tennis player Petr Korda. She leads from another American, Brittany Lincicome, who carded a 65 to go 12 under at the Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Course.

    Minjee Lee of Australia is third and a shot behind Linicome on 11 under after a 67. Lexi Thompson, the 2016 champion, is fourth and another shot behind Lee.

    Korda is making her season debut in Thailand after the surgery and is playing with 27 screws holding her jaw in place.

    She seized the outright lead with a birdie on No. 15, the third of four straight birdies she made on the back nine. Her eagle on the last meant she finished with a 29 on the back nine, putting her in prime position for a first tour win since 2015.

    ''The best part is I have had no headache for 11 weeks. So that's the biggest win for me,'' she said. ''Honestly I was just trying to get on the green, get myself a chance. I birdied four in a row and holed a long one (on 18). I wasn't expecting it at all. It was pretty cool.''

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    Simpson, Noren share Honda lead after challenging Rd. 1

    By Doug FergusonFebruary 23, 2018, 1:25 am

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - Tiger Woods had what he called ''easily'' his best round hitting the ball, and he didn't even break par at the Honda Classic.

    Alex Noren and Webb Simpson shared the lead at 4-under 66 in steady wind on a penal PGA National golf course, and felt as though they had to work hard for it. Both dropped only one shot Thursday, which might have been as great an accomplishment as any of their birdies.

    ''When you stand on certain tee boxes or certain approach shots, you remember that, 'Man, this is one of the hardest courses we play all year, including majors,''' said Simpson, who is playing the Honda Classic for the first time in seven years.

    Only 20 players broke par, and just as many were at 76 or worse.

    Woods had only one big blunder - a double bogey on the par-5 third hole when he missed the green and missed a 3-foot putt - in an otherwise stress-free round. He had one other bogey against three birdies, and was rarely out of position. Even one of his two wild drives, when his ball landed behind two carts that were selling frozen lemonade and soft pretzels, he still had a good angle to the green.

    ''It was very positive today,'' Woods said. ''It was a tough day out there for all of us, and even par is a good score.''

    It was plenty tough for Adam Scott, who again stumbled his way through the closing stretch of holes that feature water, water and more water. Scott went into the water on the par-3 15th and made double bogey, and then hit into the water on the par-3 17th and made triple bogey. He shot 73.


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    Rory McIlroy was at even par deep into the back nine when he figured his last chance at birdie would be the par-5 18th. Once he got there, he figured his best chance at birdie was to hit 3-wood on or near the green. Instead, he came up a yard short and into the water, made double bogey and shot 72.

    Noren, who lost in a playoff at Torrey Pines last month, shot 31 on the front nine and finished with a 6-foot birdie on the ninth hole into a strong wind for his 66.

    The Swede is a nine-time winner on the European Tour who is No. 16 in the world, though he has yet to make a connection among American golf fans - outside of Stillwater, Oklahoma, from his college days at Oklahoma State - from not having fared well at big events. Noren spends time in South Florida during the winter, so he's getting used to this variety of putting surfaces.

    ''I came over here to try to play some more American-style courses, get firmer greens, more rough, and to improve my driving and improve my long game,'' Noren said. ''So it's been great.''

    PGA champion Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger and Morgan Hoffmann - who all live up the road in Jupiter - opened with a 67. There's not much of an advantage because hardly anyone plays PGA National the other 51 weeks of the year. It's a resort that gets plenty of traffic, and conditions aren't quite the same.

    Louis Oosthuizen, the South African who now lives primarily in West Palm Beach, also came out to PGA National a few weeks ago to get a feel for the course. He was just like everyone else that day - carts on paths only. Not everyone can hole a bunker shot on the final hole at No. 9 for a 67. Mackenzie Hughes of Canada shot his 67 with a bogey from a bunker on No. 9.

    Woods, in his third PGA Tour event since returning from a fourth back surgery, appears to be making progress.

    ''One bad hole,'' he said. ''That's the way it goes.''

    It came on the easiest hole on the course. Woods drove into a fairway bunker on the par-5 third, laid up and put his third shot in a bunker. He barely got it out to the collar, used the edge of his sand wedge to putt it down toward the hole and missed the 3-foot par putt.

    He answered with a birdie and made pars the rest of the way.

    ''I'm trying to get better, more efficient at what I'm doing,'' Woods said. ''And also I'm actually doing it under the gun, under the pressure of having to hit golf shots, and this golf course is not forgiving whatsoever. I was very happy with the way I hit it today.''

    Woods played with Patton Kizzire, who already has won twice on the PGA Tour season this year. Kizzire had never met Woods until Thursday, and he yanked his opening tee shot into a palmetto bush. No one could find it, so he had to return to the tee to play his third shot. Kizzire covered the 505 yards in three shots, an outstanding bogey considering the two-shot penalty.

    Later, he laughed about the moment.

    ''I was so nervous,'' Kizzire said. ''I said to Tiger, 'Why did you have to make me so nervous?'''

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    Players battle 'crusty' greens on Day 1 at Honda

    By Randall MellFebruary 22, 2018, 11:52 pm

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods called the greens “scratchy” on PGA National’s Champion Course.

    Rory McIlroy said there is “not a lot of grass on them.”

    Morgan Hoffmann said they are “pretty dicey in spots, like a lot of dirt.”

    The first round of the Honda Classic left players talking almost as much about the challenge of navigating the greens as they did the challenge of Florida’s blustery, winter winds.

    “They looked more like Sunday greens than Thursday,” McIlroy said. “They are pretty crusty. They are going to have a job keeping a couple of them alive.”

    The Champion Course always plays tough, ranking annually among the most challenging on the PGA Tour. With a very dry February, the course is firmer and faster than it typically plays.

    “Today was not easy,” Woods said. “It's going to get more difficult because these greens are not the best . . . Some of these putts are a bit bouncy . . . There's no root structure. You hit shots and you see this big puff of sand on the greens, so that shows you there's not a lot of root structure.”


    Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

    Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


    Brad Nelson, PGA National’s director of agronomy, said the Champion Course’s TifEagle Bermuda greens are 18 years old, and they are dealing with some contamination, in spots, of other strains of grasses.

    “As it’s been so warm and dry, and as we are trying to get the greens so firm, those areas that are not a true Tifeagle variety anymore, they get unhappy,” Nelson said. “What I mean by unhappy is that they open up a little bit . . . It gives them the appearance of being a little bit thin in some areas.”

    Nelson said the greens are scheduled for re-grassing in the summer of 2019. He said the greens do have a “crusty” quality, but . . .

    “Our goal is to be really, really firm, and we feel like we are in a good place for where we want them to be going into the weekend,” he said.