Balky Putter Keeps Woods in Check

RSS

After all the hoopla, the controversy, and the pageantry, Tiger Woods shot a rather lackluster 1-under-par 70 in the first round of the New Zealand Open.
 
Woods birdied all three of the par-5s at the Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club in Wellington, but played the lesser holes in 2-over. The worlds No. 1 ranked player is six shots off the lead, held by Australian Scott Gardiner
 
Just didnt make any putts, said Woods, who took 30 putts in Round 1. It was just a tough day on the greens, got myself around. I didnt shoot myself in the foot.
 
Woods, who shot 66 in Wednesdays practice round, teed off Thursday around 9:15 a.m. local time (3:15 p.m. ET Wednesday). He missed a five-foot birdie putt on his first hole, the par-4 10th, and then missed a 15-footer at No. 11. He did birdie the par-5 12th, but only after his 15-foot eagle effort slid by the cup.
 
Putting was Tigers Achilles heel last week at the Mercedes Championships in Hawaii, where he averaged nearly 32 putts per round. He did, however, shoot a final-round 65 at Kapalua to give him some momentum before being whisked away in his private jet.
 
With an immense following of patrons and security, Woods hit his approach shot on the par-4 13th pin high but again missed the birdie putt. He then three-putted the 17th for a bogey to fall back to even par, only to birdie the par-5 18th.
 
A benign day turned a bit breezy as Tiger made the turn. A poor chip at the fourth, his 14th, led to his second bogey of the day. He completed his scoring with a birdie at the par-5 seventh.
 
Upon finishing his round, Woods had a slight work-out session before returning to the practice range.
 
He spent the better part of the afternoon within three strokes of the lead before a host of players surged past him.
 
Gardiner started slowly, bogeying the first, but played the back nine in 6-under 30, including four birdies and an eagle at the last.
 
Gardiner's 7-under 64 was one better than that of fellow Aussie James McLean. Brett Rumford is two off the pace following a 66. Craig Spence, Stephen Scahill, Craig Parry and 2000 New Zealand Open champion Micheal Campbell all shot 4-under 67s.
 
Thirteen-year-old qualifier Jae An recorded an impressive round of even-par 71.
 
Greg Turner, who originally said he would boycott the event in protest of the high admission prices that Woods $2 million appearance fee forced, was more frustrated Thursday after being denied entry to Paraparaumu Beach.
 
Turner was in driving to the course for his 8:45 a.m. tee time, but when he arrived at the gates, he was diverted down the road so that Woods car could be given priority and secure entry.
 
The two-time New Zealand Open champion was livid with his treatment.
 
'I've never been madder in my entire life than I was when I arrived,' said Turner, who shot 74. 'Why the whole rest of the world has got to stop...I understand the need for security but for goodness sake, you've got players in an official car just trying to play.
 
'In 18 years of professional golf I don't think I've ever played in a tournament where the players have been treated worse than this week. I've never been more insulted. Hopefully this is going to be a one-off. It's been appalling.'
 
The tournaments managing director, David Pool, regretted the incident, but said it was necessary.
 
'That decision was made by the police for a security reason but I can't do anything about that,' he said. 'Everyone's seen the security presence and understands the reasons for it.'
 
Full-field scores from the New Zealand Open