1. We’re not in the Bahamas anymore. Woods surprised many by rattling off a field-high 24 birdies at the Hero World Challenge. Not surprisingly, he didn’t have as easy of a time on Torrey Pines’ beastly South Course, hitting only four fairways, finding just nine greens and shooting a 4-over 76. He likely needs a round in the upper-60s to make the cut.
2. Justin Rose is fully recovered. Remember, Tiger wasn’t the only one on the mend last month at the Hero – the Englishman tried to play through a back injury, as well, but later withdrew. The time off served him well. He shot 20 under (and finished second) two weeks ago at the Sony, then made two eagles in his last five holes on the North Course Thursday to lead the way after Day 1.
3. The North Course isn’t a pushover anymore. The new North is still shorter than its behemoth brother, but it’s playing significantly longer this year after heavy rain and a redo that added more than 200 yards (mostly to the par 4s). It remains the only opportunity for a player to make up ground early. With perfect bentgrass greens, 14 of the top 18 scores Thursday were on the North.
4. Adam Hadwin is on a heater. A week after becoming the eighth player to break 60 on the PGA Tour, the Canadian went low again Thursday. This time, the record books are safe. His 6-under 66 was the best score of the day on the South, and it left him just one back of Rose’s lead. It was only the second time in eight tries that Hadwin broke 70 on the more difficult track.