Woods opened his round by clanking his first tee shot off a tree and putting the second one in the creek, well to the left of the second fairway. He salvaged pars on both and felt pretty decent about the round, all things considered.
“I hit some of the worst golf shots I’ve ever hit today,” Woods said. “That’s OK. I just hung in there, grinded my way around the golf course, stayed patient, stayed in the moment. I could’ve shot one, maybe two better but I got a lot out of that round.”
In search of his first major championship since the 2008 U.S. Open, Woods came in playing well. Two weeks ago, he won his first PGA Tour event in 30 months. But on the driving range before his round, he said he felt something creeping up on him.
“Old patterns. Some of my old stuff from a few years ago,” he said. “I’m trying to work through it. Every now and again, it pops up and today it popped up again.”
Before Westwood closed out his 5 under, it appeared the day’s biggest story would be Henrik Stenson, who spent most of the day in the lead and was at 5 under with a two-shot advantage when he stood on the 18th tee box.
He hit that shot deep into the trees on the left and needed two more shots to reach the fairway. All part of an ugly 8 - a snowman - that dropped him to 1-under 71 and in a tie for 15th.
“That’s what happens here,” Stenson said. “It keeps on snowballing and I got the snowman at the end.”