Tiger shot his second straight two-under 70, but he'll enter the weekend well back of the Farmers Insurance Open lead.
After firing a solid if unspectacular opening-round 70 on Torrey Pines' South course, Tiger Woods said he had to go low on the easier North track to give himself a realistic chance of winning his eighth Farmers Insurance Open.
All things are relative on the PGA Tour, and a two-under 70 isn't what Woods was looking for. His two-day total of four under will safely qualify for the weekend, but he was a full nine shots back of the lead when he walked off the course.
"I just couldn't get a putt to fall, a lot of lip outs today," Woods told Golf Channel after the round. "A round that easily could have been five or six under par but didn't materialize."
It could have been worse, and for a while it looked like Woods' first tournament of the year might end after two rounds. After playing his first eight holes in two under, Woods's badly missed his approach on 9 plugged in the face of a bunker, and he'd need four more from there en route to a double bogey.
Always the grinder, Woods battled back with a long birdie putt at the lengthy par-3 3rd and a chip-in on the very next hole.
But any momentum he might have built with those two unlikely hole-outs flamed out over the last hour of his round—he failed to birdie the par-5 5th despite having 4-iron in; Did not get up-and-in from a bunker for birdie at the driveable par-4 7th; and he hit an indifferent wedge into the par-15 18th, leading to another disappointing par.
Below is a hole-by-hole recap of the round.
Hole 9, par 5 — Par, -2 for day, -4 for tournament
A disappointing end to a disappointing day. Woods pulled his drive left on the par 5, forcing a layup. He had just 123 yards in from the middle of the fairway but played left of the flag, leaving about 25 feet. The birdie effort never had a chance, and he had to clean up about a four footer for his second-straight 70.
Hole 8, par 3 — Par, -2 for day, -4 for tournament
A solid long iron into the middle of the 210-yard par 3, to about 25 feet. A decent lag to tap-in range and that's another par. One more hole left, and it's a par 5. A birdie for 69, but Woods has put himself way too far back to expect himself to contend this weekend.
Hole 7, par 4 — Par, -2 for day, -4 for tournament
Disappointing par. Tiger went with driver to go for the 322-yard par 4 and hit a good one. It caught a downslope just short of the green and bounded through the putting surface, into a bunker behind the green. That left a tricky, 30ish yard bunker shot, which he managed to get to about 12 feet, but he couldn't convert. After where he saw that drive heading, he'll be disappointed with 4.
Hole 6, par 4 — Par, -2 for day, -4 for tournament
The short game looks sharp, that much is for sure. Tiger's drive found the first cut on the right, and he hit a short iron that was right on line but short. It caught a ridge and rolled off the green to the left, and he darn near chipped it in again. Tap in and he's got three more holes to get this round into the 60s.
Hole 5, par 5 — Par, -2 for day, -4 for tournament
The streak of birdeing all the par 5s ends at six, though after his tee shot, you'd have thought 4 was a virtual certainty. He pounded one down the center and had just a 4-iron in, but he pulled it long and left of the green. Woods drew a nice lie from there but his chip ran out to about 10 feet, and his birdie putt caught the high lip but wouldn't drop.
Hole 4, par 4 — Birdie, -2 for day, -4 for tournament
Okay, a bit of momentum now. Tiger flared his drive a bit on the dogleg left but it stayed in the fairway. He went with 7-iron from 189 yards and loved its line, but it flew to the back edge of the green and rolled out to the fringe. From there he opted to chip it, and what a good decision it was—he holed it.
Hole 3, par 3 — Birdie, -1 for day, -3 for tournament
That's just what the doctor ordered. Tiger went with 5-wood on this uphill, 240-yard par 3—it's so rare you see a PGA Tour pro hit a wood off a par 3—and hit a soft little cut into the middle of the green. From there, he curled in about a 30-footer from left to right, getting him to three under and inside the cut line. That was big. Still two par 5s left on this side. There is time to salvage this round.
Hole 2, par 4 — Par, E for day, -2 for tournament
A good drive down the center of the 500ish yard par 5 left a 6-iron into a left pin. He hit a nice tight draw to about 12 feet and got a read from his playing partner Xander Schauffele, but the putt was left the whole way. Another par.
Hole 1, par 4 — Par, E for day, -2 for tournament
Fortunate to escape with par after a wild drive that missed the fairway a solid 40 yards to the left. He was so far left that he had a decent look at the green with a manageable lie, and he hit what looked like a wedge to just short of the front edge. A nice lag from there and it's a par, but he needs birdies to ensure he plays the weekend.
Hole 18, par 4 — Double bogey, E for day, -2 for tournament
Yikes. Tiger found the center of the fairway with his drive then hit an abysmal second. He tried to attack a left pin but missed a solid 10 yards left and his ball plugged in the bunker. A really nasty lie. He did well to get it out from there just short of thhe green, but his chip ran out to about 10 feet and he caught the lip with his bogey effort. He is currently outside the cut line.
Front-nine stats: 4/7 fairways, 6/9 greens, 16 putts, even-par 36
Hole 17, par 5 — Birdie, -2 for day, -4 for tournament
He keeps the perfect record on par 5s alive—he's played six in this event, and he's birdied all six. Tiger blew a drive well right and had to lay up, but he hit a tasty wedge to about six feet. Right in the heart with the birdie effort and he's to two under for the round. Maybe that can kick-start this sleepyish round into gear.
Hole 16, par 4 — Par, -1 for day, -3 for tournament
Some days, nothing goes your way...Tiger hit a beautiful cut driver down the center, but it finished in a divot. His wedge approach finished well long, and he decided to keep the flag in for the downhill effort. Another tap-in par but those won't cut it on the North course.
Hole 15, par 3 — Par, -1 for day, -3 for tournament
Tiger hit a decent approach into this picturesque, downhill par 3, finishing about 30 feet left of the hole. That left a speedy putt, and his ball raced out to a solid six-seven feet for par. Right in the heart with that one, though, and he stays one under for the round, which has hit a bit of a lull after the opening birdie. Time to make some more.
Hole 14, par 4 — Par, -1 for day, -3 for tournament
Tiger hit a really nice drive right down the center, setting himself up for a good look with a short iron. He hit a really poor approach, starting it left of the flag and turning it over, and it missed the green to the left. Luckily for him it stayed in the fringe, and he was able to putt it from there. He came up with a good effort and it trickled out to tap-in range.
Hole 13, par 4 — Par, -1 for day, -3 for tournament
Another good look at birdie there and another really firm birdie effort that didn't drop. Tiger flared his drive out right, but it was fortunate to find some mowed-down rough just short of a bunker. He hit a really nice mid-iron from there to about 15 feet right below the hole. His birdie effort caught the left edge but had too much pace, leaving him about three feet for par, which he converted.
Tiger could easily be three under through four, and he needs to start making birdies quickly as everyone has eaten up this North course.
Hole 12, par 3 — Par, -1 for day, -3 for tournament
Tiger looked to catch his tee shot on the 190-yard hold a bit chunky—he tried to turn a draw over but stuck it in the ground a bit, and he was immediately yelling for it to go. It barely covered the front edge but kicked nicely toward the hole, leaving about 35 feet. He was aggressive with the birdie and ran it about four feet by, but no issues from there.
Hole 11, par 4 — Par, -1 for day, -3 for tournament
Missed opportunity to get a quick two-under start. Woods went with stinger off the tee and found the left side of the fairway—the hole is only 335ish yards—before floating a wedge to about 10 feet below the hole. He putt the putt on the left edge but it moved left if anything, sliding just but. He looks a little perplexed that it didn't fall right. Still, one under through two certainly isn't bad.
Hole 10, par 5 — Birdie, -1 for day, -3 for tournament
Tiger has now birdied all five par 5s he's played this week, but this is the first one that came the easy way—meaning on the green in two. Woods found the first cut off rough down the left side with his tdrive, then played a really nice approach through the middle of the green to the back edge. His 30-footer for eagle was right the hole way but left a stress-free birdie putt. An ideal start.