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Tiger Woods 'a bit rusty' as he cards 72 at Torrey Pines

27 January 2018

But this was not a major championship being played Thursday morning.

He was so predictably good that in late January 2008 - the year the US Open was coming to Torrey Pines - caddie John Wood lingered behind the 18th green on the South course and watched as Woods finished off an opening-round 67.

Morning clouds had given way to bright sunshine on the coastal course north of San Diego when Woods made his way through a healthy gallery to the first tee.

The Spanish star, who could supplant Dustin Johnson as world number one with a victory this week, was three shots off the first-round lead held by Tony Finau. With his caddie, Joe LaCava, by his side, Woods said he started grinding and amped up his work last week, spending long hours and many days playing and practicing at the Medalist Golf Club near his Florida compound.

There was no danger of a 59 in southern California, least of all by Woods, who has not played four rounds in a PGA Tour event since 2015.

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Woods was among more than 20 players sharing 84th place.

Woods also rolled in a birdie putt from within two feet at the 10th. When he tried to return after a 16-month break past year at Torrey Pines, he missed the 36-hole cut.

HOLE 13 (par 4): Another loose drive left, this time into the brush hazard, produces an angry reaction from Woods. Woods cleaned up the approach for his third birdie of the day.

That iron show was Woods' best of the day and the best one anyone has hit all day on No. 16. The ball came to rest a tantalizing 2 inches from the cup.

"Just a full 6-iron", he said. "There were some things out there that were pretty cool to see".

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"He (could) hit a high draw driver, or a lot cut that goes miles". He hit that low cut that went miles. You don't need to hit long putts with shots like that.

Jason Day, the 2015 victor at Torrey Pines, disappointed with a 73 while former US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy (76) finished near the tail of the field. "Pat played great, Charlie was solid all day. and I was probably a little rusty". "I'm always nervous [on the first tee]".

Birdies hard to come by In a quick analysis of his round, Woods said he was happiest with his comfort with the putter. "There was no wind out there to actually kind of give us any trouble". I didn't do that today. "Of course not", LaCava said. I'll try my best, that's for sure. "Now I've had a little more time to get ready for this event". I'd like to see him play multiple tournaments before I start analyzing, but everyone's going to start analyzing everything.

As long as Woods continues to make incremental improvements throughout the weekend, and in subsequent tournaments, this round will be a significant step forward in his recovery process.

"He seemed excited", Reed said. "Hopefully it happens, but we all know how hard it is to win on Tour".

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Tiger Woods 'a bit rusty' as he cards 72 at Torrey Pines