Tiger Woods shot a solid even-par 71 on Thursday at the Wells Fargo Championship, but it could have been even better.
In this most recent comeback, one of Tiger Woods' strengths has been his putting from inside 10 feet. On Thursday at the Wells Fargo Championship, that part of his game let him down and he missed two four-footers, but he struck the ball well enough to post an even-par 71 at the difficult Quail Hollow Club.
Woods gave himself good looks at birdie on the first three holes with good iron shots—struck with his new Taylormade "TWPhase 1" irons, which he's putting in play for the first time this week—but couldn't convert, then bogeyed the par-3 4th. He would get back to even-par by knocking in a nine-footer for birdie on the par-4 7th, then gave the biggest highlight of the day by draining a 27-footer for birdie on the very next hole.
A solid par on 9 saw him make the turn in one-under 34.
He suffered a true buzzkill on the par-5 10th. After finding the fairway bunker and laying up for his second, he fanned a wedge short and right of the green and could not make a seven-footer for par. He made routine pars on 11, 12 and 13 before stepping up to the drivable par-4 14th. He hit his tee shot in a bunker just short of the green and blasted out to four feet and one inch, but his putt lipped out on the right side.
On the dogleg right 16th, which played as the most difficult hole on the course, he hit a solid draw to leave himself about 15 feet for birdie. He knocked his birdie putt four feet by then once again lipped out, this time on the left. Woods seemed to hit his short putts with a bit too much speed all day.
He did make a clutch putt on 17, when he made a 17-footer for par after leaving a lengthy birdie woefully short. Woods gave himself a good chance for a birdie at the difficult 18th after hitting a fairway bunker shot to 10 feet, but his putt snapped to the left and never had a chance.
In all, Tiger missed two four-footers and was just two of five on putts between seven and ten feet. Understandably unsatisfied with his putting performance, Woods headed to the practice green shortly after the conclusion of his round.
All in all, it was an even-par 71 that leaves him just four shots back of the first-round leaders. He will tee off in his second round at 7:40 a.m. ET.