Woods in PGA contention after steady 3-under 69

By Rex HoggardAugust 9, 2012, 6:19 pm

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – At an event that was starting to feel more like a sprint, Tiger Woods walked off the Ocean Course on Thursday with the look of someone running a marathon, both physically and mentally.

His shirt drenched in sweat after a scorching day at the 94th PGA Championship, Woods figured his first-round 69 at the season’s final major was exactly what he needed, despite a field-goal deficit to Carl Pettersson.

“I mean, geez, I'm playing with Keegan (Bradley) and he's 3 under through two, and you look up on the board, some guys are 4 under through six . . . so it's one of those days where everyone's going to shoot 6, 7, 8 under par,” Woods said. “But the wind kicked up a little bit and it changed things quite a bit.”

Tiger Tracker: 94th PGA Championship at Kiawah Island

And as things changed, so did Woods’ demeanor. The sea was calm that day, as Seinfeld’s erstwhile George Costanza might opine, but Woods became more steamed as a hot, sweltering round progressed at South Carolina’s first major.

Woods was 1 over through his first five holes and hit just one green in regulation through his first four, but just as quickly he rallied with three consecutive birdies at Nos. 18, 1 and 2 after starting his week on No. 10 to move to within two shots.

If Thursday’s round felt like something less than what was needed, it was, at least statistically, something much closer to the status quo.

“Anything in the 60s is going to be a good start in a major championship, and I'm right there,” Woods said.

On this history is on Woods’ side.

In Woods’ 14 major championship victories he’s started the week with an under-par card on all but three occasions, but he’s been lower than 69 just six times. No one knows better than Woods that majors aren’t won on Thursday, which makes Day 1 at the Ocean Course something just short of a day at the beach.

Make no mistake, it could have been better. Always can be.

He made a mess of the fourth hole when he was fooled by a freshening wind and pulled his drive into a hazard left of the fairway for his only bogey on the inward loop.

“I was trying to hit a low bullet, and I turned it ever so slightly, it wasn't that bad but I turned it, and I figure if I turned it I would get down there 300 (yards),” he said. “Unfortunately it rode (the wind), and it was gone.”

He also failed to take advantage of Kiawah’s four par 5s. When he was collecting majors at an alarming clip it was his ability to score on par 5s, and specifically his record on par-72 layouts, that separated him from the pack. But on Thursday he managed just a single birdie on the par 5s, driving into “sandy areas” at Nos. 11 and 7 and failing to convert a birdie putt at No. 16.

Woods saved his round from a collection area short of the ninth green with what he called a “nasty” flop shot to 2 feet and spent the rest of the afternoon working on his iron game to “clean a few things up.”

But even that fix was encouraging considering his post-round clean up in recent weeks has fixated on a single ailment – his putting. On Thursday he needed just 22 putts and was encouraged by the work he did on his putting last week at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

“I putted well on the weekend (in Ohio), made a few adjustments Friday night last week, and felt like I hit a lot of good putts,” he said. “I started the ball on my start lines again and I think I made six putts over 20 feet out there or something like that on the weekend, which is good. Came here with the same thoughts, same feels, and I made a few today.”

Similarly this week’s PGA has a déjà vu feel to it for Woods. This week marks the ninth time in his career he’s arrived at “Glory’s Last Shot” needing a walk-off to get off the major schneid for the season, so if he was missing the look of a man who was pressing he’s come by it honestly.

Thursday’s 69 was neither perfect nor particularly eventful, but it was good enough to move him to within 54 holes of turning a good season into a great one.

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Romo turns in even in PGA Tour debut

By Will GrayMarch 22, 2018, 3:00 pm

After stumbling out of the gates, Tony Romo has found his footing in his PGA Tour debut.

Playing in the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship on a sponsor exemption, Romo shot an even-par 36 for his opening nine holes in the Dominican Republic. The former NFL quarterback bogeyed his first two holes, but steadied the ship with three birdies from Nos. 4-8 while playing alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.

The early highlight of the round came at the par-4 fifth hole, where Romo drained a putt from across the green for his second straight birdie:

Romo has played as an amateur partner in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and has played individually in U.S. Open local qualifiers and mini-tour events as an amateur. But this marks his first attempt to gauge his game against the best players in the world who are not in Austin for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

Romo, who plays to a plus-0.3 handicap, said earlier in the week that he expected some jitters once it came time to put a tee in the ground.

"You'll be nervous on Thursday on the first tee. Just going to be," Romo said. "I've got to get through the first three or four holes. If I can handle the nerves on the first three or four holes, I think that I'll settle in and hopefully just play the way I've been playing."

Click here to watch live first-round action on Golf Channel.

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Kim's missing clubs show up at sporting goods store

By Will GrayMarch 22, 2018, 1:58 pm

More than a month after they were lost on an American Airlines flight, the clubs I.K. Kim used to win last year's Ricoh Women's British Open turned up on the sale rack of a California sporting goods store.

Kim's clubs became lost in late January when she flew from Miami to San Diego, with the airline suggesting she simply rent a new set. A few weeks later, Kim shot a "What's in the bag" television segment which according to a Golfweek report caught the eye of three good samaritans in the San Diego area.

The three men recognized Kim's clubs for sale at a local Play It Again Sports, with the major winner's tools listed at $60 each. The store even had Kim's tour bag, complete with her LPGA player badge. Kim filmed the reunion with her bag - containing wedges and a few hybrids, minus the head covers - at the Carlsbad police station:

Kim was back in southern California this week for the Kia Classic, where she'll begin play Thursday morning at Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad.

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New dad Garcia removes shoes, wins match

By Rex HoggardMarch 22, 2018, 12:48 am

AUSTIN, Texas – In one of the day’s most explosive matches, Sergio Garcia rolled in an 8-footer for birdie at the 18th hole to defeat Shubhankar Sharma, 1 up, at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

The duo halved just nine holes on Day 1 at Austin Country Club, with Garcia going from 2 up through four holes to 1 down with five holes to play.

But the Spaniard rallied with five birdies over his final eight holes and pushed his record to 20-17-1 in the Match Play. He also gave himself his best chance to advance out of pool play since the format began in 2015.

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

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The victory continued what has already been a memorable week for Garcia, whose wife, Angela, gave birth to the couple’s first child last Wednesday.

“I already feel like I’m a winner after what happened on Wednesday,” Garcia said. “Obviously, it's something that we're so, so happy and proud of and enjoying it as much as possible.”

The highlight of Garcia’s round on Wednesday came at the 12th hole when he took a drop on a cart path. After considering his options, he removed his shoes and hit his approach from 212 yards to 29 feet for a two-putt birdie to halve the hole.

“I have spikes. So if I don't take my shoes off, I'm going to slip. It's not the kind of shot that you want to slip,” Garcia said. “I had tried it a couple of times on practice swings and I was already slipping a little bit. So I thought I would just take my shoes off, try to get a little bit in front of the hole and it came out great.”