news 5 days ago

PGA Championship 2019: Tiger Woods digs early Round 1 hole, 3 over after nine

Sporting News — (Bob Hille)

Tiger Woods dug himself an early hole Thursday with two double-bogeys on his first nine at the PGA Championship and made the turn at 3 over in Round 1 at Bethpage Black.

Making his first competitive start since winning the Masters in April, Woods — starting at No. 10 with Brooks Koepka and Francesco Molinari — found the right rough on his first tee shot and learned early that recent frequent rain on Long Island, New York, was going to make the rough particularly punishing on an already tough course.

He was forced to hack out, then knocked his third-shot approach over the back of the green and missed a 4-foot putt for bogey coming back.

Just like that, he was plus-2 one hole into the year's second major.

Woods was able to steady himself with pars over the next four holes before cashing in his first good look at birdie on the par-4 15th hole by rolling in a 15-footer breaking left to right.

He avoided giving that shot right back on 16, again forced to merely put the back in the fairway after an errant drive but then nearly holing out on his third shot and then saving par with a short putt.

However, he found a bunker on the 199-yard par-3 14th and had to blast out from an awkward stance but compounded his problems by being over-aggressive with his par putt. After running the putt some 10 feet past the hole, he missed his bogey putt coming back.

A good approach to 20 feet on 18 went for naught as Woods missed the birdie putt and made the turn at plus 3, but he birdied the next two holes to regain some momentum.

In the meantime, Koepka, the defending PGA champion, opened with a birdie on No. 10 and added two more — at the par-3 14th, rolling in a 20-footer, and another at 18 — to make the turn at 3-under 32 and a share of the early Round 1 lead. Molinari, the British Open champion, capped a roller-coaster opening nine by sinking a left-to-right birdie putt at No. 18 to mix three birdies with three bogeys and make the turn at even par.