BAM! Woodland uses big drives to card 65 on North Course


SAN DIEGO – Beginning his week on the easier North Course, Gary Woodland knew that a hot start would be needed in order to contend this weekend at the Farmers Insurance Open.

That’s just what he got Thursday at Torrey Pines, as Woodland carded a bogey-free, 7-under 65 that left him just one shot off the lead after the opening round.

“When you play the North Course, you know you’ve got to have a good round,” said Woodland, who carded five birdies in addition to an eagle at the par-5 18th. “It’s nice to go out there and post a round and hopefully drive the ball in play tomorrow and attack the par-5s.”

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One of the Tour’s longest hitters, Woodland played to his strength while reaching 16 of 18 greens in regulation.

“I really drove the golf ball well, which was huge,” he noted. “It’s nice because if you drive the ball in play, you’ll have a lot of wedges and you’ll give yourself a lot of putts.”

The round marks the continuation of a lengthy stretch of good form for Woodland, who won last year in Reno and tied for second at The Barclays. The 29-year-old got the new wraparound season off to a strong start with a runner-up finish in Malaysia, while he capped his play at the Humana Challenge with rounds of 65 and 68 last weekend in Palm Springs.

“Everything’s really starting to come together. I’m healthier,” he added. “We put a lot of work in this off-season. Really focus on driving the golf ball, and I feel like I’m starting to do that really well now.”