Woods opens with 72 in Farmers title defense


SAN DIEGO – If Tiger Woods is to win for a record ninth time at Torrey Pines, he’ll have to mount his biggest comeback yet.

Woods struggled off the tee Thursday on the difficult South Course, mixing two birdies with a pair of bogeys en route to an even-par start in the Farmers Insurance Open.

After an opening 72, Woods finds himself eight shots back of first-round leader Stewart Cink, who shot 64 on the North Course. 

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Woods has never opened with worse than 71 in any of his seven wins in this event. In five of those wins, he began the week with a round in the 60s.

On Thursday, Woods hit half the fairways and only 11 greens. On the 12th hole, he sank a critical 16-footer for par to stay 1 over for the day, then tacked on a birdie at 14 to return to even par. In 52 career rounds in this event, Woods has recorded an over-par score only three times.

When Woods heads to the North Course on Friday, he should find a track that will play decidedly easier. On Day 1, the North played to a scoring average of 70.474, while the South checked in at 74.315.