Woodland plays alone, cards 71 in under three hours


ATLANTA – With a 29-man field at this week’s Tour Championship, one player will compete as a single each round.

On Thursday, that honor went to Gary Woodland.

The 29th-ranked player on the FedEx Cup points list, Woodland posted a 1-over 71 in a round that took just two hours and 50 minutes.

“I slowed down a little bit on the back nine,” he explained. “I was moving great. I just slowed down to see if I would play better if I slowed down, but that didn’t help, so the last couple of holes I tried to pick it up again.”

After the round, Woodland was happier with his pace than his performance.

“I played bad today, I really did. I hit it bad, I putted it bad. That’s the good thing about playing fast – I didn’t have to be out here very long.”

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As the lowest player on an odd-numbered leaderboard at last year’s PGA Championship, he was given a marker. But he said that option wasn’t offered by the PGA Tour this week.

“I’d prefer not to have a marker; I’d prefer to go out by myself,” he said. “You can just go. I don’t have to worry about anyone else. I don’t have to wait on anybody. That was the good part about today.”

Woodland also insisted that it was a little strange playing a round that matters without anyone else on the tee boxes or greens.

“You’re teeing off first every hole and teeing off last every hole. It’s always your turn to putt. You never like to hear, ‘You’re still out,’ but you’re always still out.”