Tiger Woods bounced back from his miserable US Open to shoot his lowest score on the PGA Tour this season with a four-under-par 66 on day one of The Greenbrier Classic.
Woods has had a largely dismal 2015 so far, slumping to 220th in the world rankings and recording three scores in the 80s in his last six tournaments.
I just had to make a couple little tweaks, and I felt like I pulled that offTiger Woods
The former world No 1 also missed the cut in the US Open at Chambers Bay with his worst ever score in the event (80 in the first round) and highest 36-hole total of his career (156).
However, the 14-time major winner had a much better day in West Virginia yesterday as he broke 70 for only the third time this season and the first time since the Masters in April, where he carded a four-under-par 68 in the third round. “I felt like I wasn’t very far away,” Woods said after his round.
“I know people think I’m crazy for saying that, but I just felt like I wasn’t that far. I just had to make a couple little tweaks, and I felt like I pulled that off.”
Making his second start at the event, Woods carded seven birdies. He hit ten of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens along the way, needing only 25 putts.
“It started at Memorial, making a big [swing] change there, and then it’s just finally starting to click in now,” Woods added.
Starting on the tenth, Woods made birdies on the 12th, 15th and 16th before dropping his first shot of the day on the 17th to reach the turn in 34.
After a birdie on the second, Woods looked to have undone much of his good work with a double bogey on the sixth, where he thinned a bunker shot across the green, however he responded superbly to finish his round with three straight birdies.
That left the 39-year-old in a good position to avoid missing the cut in consecutive PGA Tour events for the first time in his illustrious career, albeit four shots behind clubhouse leader Scott Langley who carded a flawless 62.
Another American, Jonathan Byrd, was second on seven under after a 63 while England’s Brian Davis was a further shot back in a tie for third with Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa.
l Sophie Giquel-Bettan of France carded a six-under-par 66 to take the lead after the first round of the ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters yesterday.
Giquel-Bettan fired seven birdies and one bogey at Buckinghamshire Golf Club to end the day one shot ahead of South African Ashleigh Simon, Italian Sophie Sandolo, Josephine Janson of Sweden and Nontaya Srisawang from Thailand.
English pair Charley Hull and Trish Johnson were part of a large group two strokes off the pace on four under par.
Hull, who recorded five birdies and one bogey, said: “I’m happy because I putted pretty well today.
“I just kept coming up short with my irons. I struck it well but kept misclubbing myself. I feel like I’m so used to my American distances that now when I’m in a tournament I keep thinking I’m going to hit them a bit further but I don’t.”
Johnson was delighted with her round following a disappointing run of results this season due to a persistent back injury, adding: “I had a lesson a couple of days ago with Stuart Brewer, the father of Ben Brewer, who caddied for me in Holland. There was some stuff that I really needed help with.”