Tiger Woods tees off on the 10th hole to begin first round play on the Torrey… (Mike Blake / Reuters )
Reporting from La Jolla, Calif. --
18th hole (No. 9) North Course, Par 5, 547 yards
Tiger came into his 18th hole needing to salvage something of his par fives, having had a very undistinguished day on the holes that should be the easiest for him. His drive rolled into some heavy rough on the right, leaving him needing a power shot to get near the green. And that's exactly what he did, just clearing a trap and landing in some thick grass just off the green. A good save, all things considered. But things could have turned out better on his downhill chip and run from the edge of the green. The ball came out tentatively, and he left himself about a 12-footer for birdie. His birdie putt wasn't firm enough to hold the line and leaked off to the right giving him his fourth par on a par five. Still, it was a respectable day for Tiger, with 15 pars and three birdies. The key: no bogeys. He does need to shore up his driving, hitting only about 36% of the fairways. He hit 72% of the greens in regulation. When he left the course, he was tied for 14th, three strokes behind the four golfers tied for the lead. Tiger finished his round three under.
17th hole (No. 8) North Course, Par 4, 436 yards
All the joy of two holes back evaporated on this hole as Tiger put his drive into his first trap of the day about 180 yards from the hole. He caught his sand shot a little fat, causing him to violently slam his club into the grass near the trap and to elevate his swearing game to a word that if said twice gets you a R rating. The ball landed in the tall rough, short and to the left of the hole. He chipped on the green and left himself about an eight-footer for par -- his first really challenging par putt of the day. But he pulled himself together and drilled his putt into the bottom of the hole to save par. A fan said, "Good sand save," and Tiger acknowledged it with a thank you. Tiger is three under after 17 holes.
16th hole (No. 7) North Course, Par 4, 399 yards
Suddenly, Tiger has taken a round that at times has been disappointing -- his play on par fives -- and brought it back to life with a rock-solid string of pars mixed with three birdies. He caught a bit of minor bad luck on his drive as a strong drive down the middle trickled just into the light rough on this hole that doglegs to the right. Tiger's approach was good, landing about 10 feet from the hole. His putt was strong but missed on the left. Tiger threw up his arms in disgust. Certainly a missed opportunity on a day when the leaderboard was getting very crowded. Tiger is three under after 16 holes.
15th hole (No. 6) North Course, Par 3, 212 yards
As Tiger prepared to tee off on his 15th hole of the day, a plane flew overhead pulling a banner for the Cheetah's Gentleman's Club. He didn't notice. His shot on this difficult hole was safe, landing about 18 feet to the left of the pin. Tiger's putt had just enough pace to settle into the bottom of the hole for his third birdie of the day. He threw his arms up in the first real display of positive emotion on the day. Tiger is three under after 15 holes.
14th hole (No. 5) North Course, Par 4, 411 yards
Tiger seemed to have found his accuracy off the tee on the second nine with a perfect drive and then a strong second shot leaving him about 11 feet from the pin. But while his driving seems to have clicked, his putting was still a work in progress. His putt landed about an inch short of the hole and was followed by a patented Tiger grimace. Meanwhile the leaderboard was getting a bit crowded with four golfers at five under. Tiger was in a tie for 21st. Tiger is two under after 14 holes.
13th hole (No. 4) North Course, Par 4, 434 yards
Tiger has had trouble hitting fairways so far this round, but you wouldn't know it from his drive on this hole. "He killed it," yelled one fan as Tiger left himself about 100 yards short of the hole. His approach shot flew past the hole on the left and backspin brought it back to about 15 feet from the hole. Tiger was not happy with the shot, swiping his club at the fairway after he hit it. Tiger's putt then slid by about 2 feet, and he tapped back in for his 11th par of the day. Tiger is two under after 13 holes.
12th hole (No. 3) North Course, Par 3, 184 yards
The birdie on No. 2 (11th hole of the day) was a big boost for Tiger's standing, moving him into a tie for 13th heading into his 12th hole. His iron shot on the par three put him about 20 feet from the hole, but his birdie putt missed to the left. Meanwhile, Sunghoon Kang moved into first with a spectacular five under after nine holes. Tiger is two under after 12 holes.
11th hole (No. 2) North Course, Par 4, 329 yards