Woods Answers the Bell in Round One
Tigers tougher, and the course is more benign.
Woods shot a 5-under-par 65 to earn a share of the first-round lead at the Bell Canadian Open in Ile Bizard, Quebec.
Woods tied the course record, as did Jim McGovern, Matt Gogel and Michael Muehr.
John Daly, Mark OMeara and Joey Sindelar each opened in 4-under 66. Daly is coming off his first victory in six years at last weeks BMW International Open on the European Tour.
'I'm hitting the ball better than I've ever hit it and that's a good sign,' Daly said.
Woods is in search of his sixth PGA Tour victory of the season, and his fourth successful title defense. He won the Bay Hill Invitational for the second straight year in March. He then captured his third straight Memorial Tournament in June. And in his last start, Woods once again three-peated at the WGC-NEC Invitational.
However, this week, Tiger is trying to defend at a different venue.
Last year, Tiger won at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario. This year, hes competing at Royal Montreal, where he shot 70-76 in in 1997 to miss the cut.
Its been 76 starts since Woods has failed to qualify for weekend play. His last official missed cut came in the 1998 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am ' when he withdrew after the tournament, which started in February but was forced to conclude in August due to inclement weather.
Thursday, playing a course with far less penal rough than that of four years ago, Woods made the turn in 2-under 33, and then climbed to 4-under thanks to an eagle at the par-5 13th. Tiger crushed a drive and hit a 9-iron into the green with his second shot.
He finished his round by sinking a six-foot birdie putt at No. 18.
It wasnt on my mind what happened in 97 because I knew if I started thinking that way, then I dont think I could put the attention I needed on each and every shot, Woods said.
Woods and Gogel certainly have a history. Woods overcame a seven-shot deficit to win the 2000 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at Gogels expense.
Gogel led outright Thursday at 6-under, but bogeyed the par-3 17th to finish in a tie for first place.
Of the leaders, Muehr had the most exhausting day. He hit only six fairways, chipped in for birdie on No. 16 and holed a 40-foot par putt at the 5th.
It was a scrambling day and it takes a lot out of you, Muehr said. But Im ready to keep playing.
News, Notes and Numbers
*Grant Waite, who finished runner-up to Woods in 2000 overslept Thursday, then was stuck in traffic and missed by six minutes his 7:29 a.m. tee time. Players are assessed a two-stroke penalty for showing within five minutes of their tee time. Any longer is an automatic disqualification.
*Mike Weir of Canada shot his lowest score ever in a Canadian Open with a 2-under 68.
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Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).
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