Tiger Woods showed a mix of signs in his first round since a disappointing Masters, firing an Even-par 71 in Thursday’s opening round of the Wells Fargo Championship. Woods sits just four shots off the lead (and T-37) after a day where he made a few key mistakes but made up for three bogeys with three birdies.
It wasn’t pretty, but Woods is in a decent position through 18 holes.
The 42-year-old began his round with three solid pars before missing a 7-footer at the par-3 fourth and settling for bogey. Woods then got out of a fried egg at the par-3 sixth and had to make a 7-footer to avoid falling 2 over. He drained the putt for a brilliant and key save.
His round then shifted when he buried a 9-footer at the par-5 seventh for birdie to move back to Even par. He then sunk a 27-footer at the par-4 eighth for back-to-back birdies and to move to 1 under.
Woods was feeling it, but then another turn … he would make a sloppy bogey at the par-5 10th to fall back to Even.
He got that stroke back with a birdie at the following par 5 (No. 15) but then made a bad three-putt bogey from 15 feet at the par-4 16th to drop to Even. With 17 feet for par at the next, Woods’ good round appeared to be unraveling.
But he then drained that crucial putt.
Woods knocked a fairway bunker shot inside 10 feet at the par-4 18th but couldn’t get the ensuing birdie putt to drop. The closing par did mean a 71, though.
It was an up-and-down day off the tee, as Woods hit just six of 14 fairways. But he had a great day on approach shots, with few notable misses and a number of brilliant shots. He found 13 greens in regulation. His putting was uncharacteristically shaky – he seemed to be hitting a lot of putts too hard – as he missed five putts inside 10 feet.
There were some real shockers, like the 4-footer he lipped out for birdie at the par-4 14th that could’ve moved him to red numbers. Two holes later, he ran a 15-footer some 4 feet by and lipped out the comebacker for a strange bogey.
Yet, nothing is lost through Day 1. After all, you can’t win it on Thursday.
And even though it wasn’t perfect, Woods is still well in this with 54 holes to go.