GolfFriday, February 28, 2014
Another slow start for Tiger at Honda Classic
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Florida — Tiger Woods had good birdie chances on his opening four holes and couldn’t break par in the Honda Classic yesterday.
He was playing for the first time in a month — and only his third tournament this year — and he didn’t show many signs of rounding into form. Coming off pedestrian finishes at Torrey Pines and Dubai, the world’s No. 1 player couldn’t make any putts until he was scrambling for par.
Woods had only three birdies in a round of 71 and likely will start the second round today outside the cut line.
“I hit it good starting out,” Woods said. “Hit it kind of scrappy in the middle and then hit it good at the end.”
The big blow came on No. 2 when he pulled his tee shot into thick rough, advanced the ball only about 25 yards, found a bunker and took double bogey.
Woods has played in only four tournaments, not including the Presidents Cup, since the Tour Championship last September. He talked about possibly altering his pre-Masters schedule, though he has not made clear what he meant by that.
Rory McIlroy birdied his last two holes for a 7-under 63 to take the lead. It was quite a turnaround for him, who last year was 7 over through eight holes of the second round when he walked off PGA National out of frustration. He looked more like the free-wheeling kid who won this tournament two years ago to rise to No. 1 in the world.
McIlroy buried a few long putts to help the cause, though his game was solid through a cloudy afternoon. He was one shot ahead of Russell Henley, who birdied five of his opening six holes before cooling.
Argentine Ángel Cabrera made a one-under 70, while compatriots Andrés Romero and José Cóceres carded a 71 and 73, respectively.
TSHWANE OPEN. Simon Dyson birdied his last four holes in a 7-under 65 to take the clubhouse lead at the Tshwane Open yesterday.
Trevor Fisher Jr. was also 7 under through 16 holes of his opening round before play was suspended because of a thunderstorm in Centurion.
Englishman Dyson made a strong finish at Copperleaf Golf and Country Estate and had seven birdies in all and no dropped shots on the Ernie Els-designed course. South Africa’s Fisher Jr. also had seven birdies but with two holes to complete in his opening round. Another Englishman, Ross Fisher, and South Africans Jared Harvey and Erik van Rooyen shot 6-under 66s to be a shot behind Dyson in the European Tour event.