starts Honda Classic in slow lane with 71
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[February 28, 2014]
(Reuters) - Tiger Woods lamented
inconsistent putting but it was his long game as much as his short stick
that led to a mediocre one-over-par 71 in the first round of the Honda
Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, on Thursday.
Woods, in just his third tournament of the year, said he had
trouble adapting to the slow greens on a day when he was left
trailing in the wake of leader Rory McIlroy, who shot a bogey-free
"I hit it probably good enough to shoot at least three or four lower
than I did," the 14-times major champion told reporters after
playing in relatively benign morning conditions at PGA National in
Palm Beach Gardens.
"First four holes, I had good looks (at birdie putts) and didn't
make any of them. I hit it good starting out, scrappy in the middle
and good at the end."
World number one Woods, who is playing the Honda Classic for only
the third time as a professional, said he had misread several putts
after being "fooled" by the speed and grain of the greens.
But the reality is he did not give himself many realistic birdie
opportunities. He hit 12 greens in regulation, certainly nothing to
be ashamed of, but had only four birdie chances inside 10 feet,
three of which he converted.
[to top of second column]
Woods, who is tied for 81st in a field of 144, will probably need to
break par in the second round on Friday to make the halfway cut.
He began his round on the back nine and negotiated that without too
many problems, a nine-foot birdie putt at the par-five 18th putting
him at one under by the turn.
It was not until the par-four second, his 11th hole of the day, that
he finally had a blemish on his card.
After a poor drive, he barely advanced his second shot, found a
bunker with his third and was unable to get up and down from there
en route to an ugly six. He then offset two birdies with two bogeys
to end the day at one over.
The Honda Classic signals the start of Woods' serious preparation
for the Apr. 10-13 Masters, and the greens at PGA National are
vastly different to the slick, heavily contoured surfaces at Augusta
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Mark
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