Woods opens with 71 at Doral

By Associated PressMarch 12, 2009, 4:00 pm
2007 WGC CA ChampionshipDORAL, Fla. ' Tiger Woods had a bit of a battle in his return to stroke play at the CA Championship.
 
Woods shot a 1-under 71 Thursday in the opening round at Doral, his first round of stroke play since beating Rocco Mediate in the playoff at last summers U.S. Open. With some players still on the course, Woods was six shots behind Jeev Milkha Singh, Prayed Marksaeng and Retief Goosen, all of whom shot 65s.
 
2009 WGC-CA
Tiger Woods bends his right knee at the ninth fairway during the first round of the WGC-CA Championship. (Getty Images)
Looking for his fourth win in five years at Doral, Woods made three birdies and two bogeys. He had plenty of other chances, but was a highly uncharacteristic 1-for-11 on putts of 10 feet or longer, including at least three that hit the hole and lipped out.
 
I was just a touch off, either driving the ball just through the fairways or not hitting it close enough or lipping out, Woods said. Just one of those days.
 
Singh had one of those days as well ' the good kind, that is.
 
His best finish in a World Golf Championships event was a tie for 26th in the CA Championship two years ago, and topped his previous best round at Doral by three shots.
 
A 65, obviously, I have to be happy with that, Singh said.
 
Goosen could have taken the outright lead on his final hole, but missed a 5-footer for birdie at the par-3 9th. It was a rare putting blip for Goosen; he needed only 21 putts on the first 17 holes. Marksaeng made birdie on his final hole, also the 9th, to grab his share of the lead.
 
Singh ' who doesnt play in the U.S. exclusively, flying over 100,000 miles annually to play around the globe ' had eight birdies and one bogey on his way to 65. Hes never been better than tied for ninth in a PGA Tour event.
 
Honestly, I love this golf course, Singh said. I think it suits my eye.
 
Padraig Harrington, James Kingston and Rod Pampling each shot 66. Louis Oosthuizen birdied four of his first five holes on the way to a 67, and Camilo Villegas ' the Colombian who tends to play well in South Florida, where the Latin population shows up in droves to watch him ' had four birdies on his final nine holes to shoot 67.
 
Sean OHair also was among those at 5 under, as his round began eagle-eagle. He reached the par-5 opening hole in two shots and made the putt, then chipped in from 42 yards on the par-4 second hole.
 
It was pretty straightforward, OHair said.
 
But the biggest crowd, of course, was for Woods.
 
His first swing was a 3-wood off the 10th tee, with the ball coming to rest in the fairway 282 yards away. Even that far out, it didnt even clear the gallery line, which stretched for at least another 30 yards past the world No. 1s tee shot.
 
It was just the 12th tournament round for Woods since leaving Doral last year.
 
It was a little bit frustrating on those greens today, Woods said. I hit so many good putts that looked good. They just didnt go in.
 
Woods said he wouldnt let a six-shot deficit change his thinking with three rounds remaining.
 
Its not like I was playing poorly or struggling all the way around or struggling on the greens, not having my speed. I had all that, Woods said. I felt good all day. Its just a matter of getting the ball in a little bit faster.
 
Defending champion Geoff Ogilvys bid for a fourth WGC title ' and third win in six starts this year ' got off to a slow start.
 
He slept on the lead four times en route to winning this event last year, but never was near the top of the leaderboard Thursday, shooting an opening-round 73, with just one birdie on his card.
 
All five of his wins since 2006 have come in events with prestige, like a World Golf Championship event, a U.S. Open or the winners-only Mercedes-Benz Championship. Ogilvy cant explain why, nor does he grasp his outrageous 18-3 record in head-to-head competition, capped by his second win at Match Play this month.
 
Im not really sure whether I have a better frame of mind in a big tournament, Ogilvy said. I definitely enjoy big tournaments. Not that I dont enjoy all golf tournaments, but I enjoy big tournaments more.
 
And this is a big tournament, for certain. Someone in the 80-player, no-cut field will earn $1.4 million.
 
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    Rose (64) peaking just ahead of the U.S. Open

    By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 8:40 pm

    A former U.S. Open champion appears to be finding his form just three weeks ahead of the year's second major.

    Justin Rose ascended to the top of the leaderboard Friday at the Fort Worth Invitational, with rounds of 66-64 pushing him to 10 under par for the week.

    Through 36 at Colonial, Rose has marked 12 birdies against just two bogeys.

    "Yeah, I did a lot of good things today," Rose said. "I think, you know, the end of my round got a little scrappy, but until the last three holes it was pretty flawless. I think I hit every fairway pretty much and obviously every green to that point. ...

    "Yeah, the way I played through, I guess through my first 15 holes today, was about as good as I've played in a long time."


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    Rose won in back-to-back weeks last fall, stunning Dustin Johnson at the WGC-HSBC Championship and riding that victory right into another at the Turkish Airlines Open.

    Now the 2013 U.S. Open winner at Merion feels himself once again rounding into form ahead of this year's Open at Shinnecock. A final-round 66 at The Players gave Rose something to focus on in his recent practice sessions with swing coach Sean Foley, as the two work to shore up the timing of Rose's transition into the downswing.

    As for his decision to tee it up at Colonial for the first time since 2010, "It was more the run of form really," Rose explained. "I feel like if I didn't play here it was going to be a little spotty going into the U.S. Open. I felt like I wanted to play enough golf where I would have a good read on my game going into Shinnecock.

    "So rather than the venue it was more the timing, but it's obviously it's just such a bonus to be on a great layout like this."

    For whatever reason, Rose does tend to play his best golf at iconic venues, having won PGA Tour events at Muirfield Village, Aronimink, Cog Hill, Doral, Merion and Congressional.

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    Koepka (63): Two wrist dislocations in two months

    By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 8:19 pm

    Brook Koepka's journey back from a wrist injury that kept him out four months hasn't been totally smooth sailing, even if his play has suggested otherwise.

    Koepka on Friday fired a 7-under 63 to move up the leaderboard into a tie for third, three shots behind leader Justin Rose through the end of the morning wave at the Fort Worth Invitational.

    After a slow start Thursday saw him play his first 13 holes 3 over, Koepka is 10 under with 11 birdies in his last 23 holes at Colonial.

    "It doesn't matter to me. I could care less. I'm still going to try as hard as I can," Koepka said. "I don't care how many over or how many under I am. Still going to fight through it."


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    Just like he's been fighting his wrist the last two months or so. Koepka reinjured his wrist the Wednesday of The Players when he was practicing on the range and had to halt mid-swing after a golf cart drove in front of him. He nonetheless managed to finish T-11.

    And that's not the only issue he's had with that wrist during his return.

    "We had a bone pop out of place. I didn't tell anybody, but, yeah, they popped it back in," Koepka admitted Friday. "Luckily enough we kind of popped it back into place right away so it wasn't stiff and I didn't have too, too many problems.

    "Yeah. I mean, I've dislocated my wrist twice in the last two months. You know, different spots, but, I mean, it's fun. I'll be all right."

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    Twitter spat turns into fundraising opportunity

    By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2018, 6:30 pm

    Country music star Jake Owen, along with Brandt Snedeker, has turned a spat on Twitter into a fundraising campaign that will support Snedeker’s foundation.

    On Thursday, Owen was criticized during the opening round of the Web.com Tour’s Nashville Golf Open, which benefits the Snedeker Foundation, for his poor play after opening with an 86.

    In response, Snedeker and country singer Chris Young pledged $5,000 for every birdie that Owen makes on Friday in a campaign called NGO Birdies for Kids

    Although Owen, who is playing the event on a sponsor exemption, doesn’t tee off for Round 2 in Nashville until 2 p.m. (CT), the campaign has already generated interest, with NBC Sports/Golf Channel analyst Peter Jacobsen along with Web.com Tour player Zac Blair both pledging $100 for every birdie Owen makes.

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    Noren so impressed by Rory: 'I'm about to quit golf'

    By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 5:33 pm

    Alex Noren won the BMW PGA Championship last year, one of his nine career European Tour victories.

    He opened his title defense at Wentworth Club in 68-69 and is tied for fourth through two rounds. Unfortunately, he's five back of leader Rory McIlroy. And after playing the first two days alongside McIlroy, Noren, currently ranked 19th in the world, doesn't seem to like his chances of back-to-back wins.

    McIlroy opened in 67 and then shot a bogey-free 65 in second round, which included pars on the pair of par-5 finishing holes. Noren walked away left in awe.

    "That's the best round I've ever seen," Noren said. "I'm about to quit golf, I think."

    Check out the full interview below: