Tiger Woods endured a “horrendous” start in his bid for PGA title No.83 on Thursday, shooting a 4-over 76 at the ZoZo Championship.
The scorecards of Woods and Sebastian Munoz were unusual for different reasons, but that was only good news for one of them.
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Colombian Munoz finished the opening round as the leader after a roller-coaster 8-under 64, while Woods signed for a 4-over 76 - by two shots his worst score in 49 rounds at Sherwood Country Club and in no mood to talk.
Munoz twice holed out for eagle to go with eight birdies, a double bogey, three bogeys and just five pars.
“Not a normal round,” Munoz said.
That was also the case for Woods who for the first time in 1277 rounds on the PGA Tour as a pro made bogey or worse on three par 5s in a single round.
Writing for Yahoo Sports US, Ryan Young described Woods’ display as “horrendous”.
“A win this week would’ve been historic - not only would it mark back-to-back wins at the tournament, but it would also be Woods’ 83rd career win on the PGA Tour and would set the all-time record,” Young wrote.
“The final major championship of the calendar year is set to kick off next month after it was rescheduled from April due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Woods said he’s had to completely rethink how he’s preparing for Augusta National, and is even thinking about playing in the Houston Open right before the Masters — which would be the first time he’s played the week before a major championship since 1997.
“Based on how Thursday went, making a pit stop in Houston on the way to Georgia might be a good idea.”
Tiger not the only big name to struggle
England’s Tyrrell Hatton and Justin Thomas share second a shot behind Munoz.
Hatton - who won the European Tour flagship event at Wentworth, flew to Las Vegas for the CJ Cup and tied for third - had eight birdies in his 65 while Thomas required just 29 shots on the back nine after making the turn at even.
About half of the 78-man field shot in the 60s on a pleasant day in the Conejo Valley with five players tied for fourth at 6-under while Cameron Smith is best of the Australians after round one, in a share for ninth after a 67.
Former World No.1 Jason Day, who withdrew early in last week's final round in Las Vegas due to a neck issue, was bogey free in his 68 with March Leishman (71) and Brad Kennedy (72) rounding out the Aussie contingent.
Defending champion Woods - who won the event last year when it was played in Japan - wasn’t the only big name to struggle in the mild conditions as Rory McIlroy sandwiched two double bogeys around two birdies in his final four holes to card a 73.
Phil Mickelson, a winner last week on the senior tour needed four birdies in his last eight holes to shoot 72.
Woods, playing only his third competitive round in the past seven weeks, and his first since missing the cut in the US Open a month ago appeared rusty and a few bad breaks didn't help his cause.
Although he did manage a big smile after sinking an 87-foot putt for birdie on the 14th - to erase some of the gloom from a double bogey on the par-5 13th.
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