Tiger shoots 3-over par, in danger of missing cut
NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. - The AT&T National might have picked a good year to take Tiger Woods' name off its logo -- and not just for the obvious reasons.
On a day when he was trailed by a crush of fans, Woods played the final five holes in 4-over par, coming undone in the opening round at Aronimink Country Club. Shooting a 3-over 73 and placing in the bottom third of the 120-man field, Woods is in danger of missing the cut in his fourth annual tournament.
First on, first inJoe Ogilvie was the first player to tee off at No. 1 on Thursday and required just 4 hours, 8 minutes to finish, posting a score that remained unbeaten all day. “I don’t think it’s that much of a leap of faith to play in four hours,” Ogilvy said. “You’d be kicked out of Aronimink if you played in 4 hours and 15 minutes in foursomes, so you ought to be able to do it in threesomes.”Hole of the dayThe most talked about hole was No. 17, which had the highest stroke average above par (3.34) and yielded just one birdie. The hole played 198 yards Thursday, with the pin set on the narrow left side of the push-up green, water in the front and a shaved slope feeding short shots back into the pond. The tee shot that finished closest was Webb Simpson’s at 22 feet.Eagles landedThere were five eagles Thursday, but only two came on par-5 holes. Tim Herron (68) drained a wedge from 116 yards out on No. 10, a par-4. Scott McCarron (68) holed a 9-iron from 142 yards out for an eagle at No. 2, a par-4. Nathan Green (71) made the third hole-in-one in the four-year history of the AT&T National, acing the 159-yard 5th with an 8-iron.
Woods is seven strokes behind leaders Arjun Atwal, Jason Day, Joe Ogilvie and Nick Watney. All have won on the PGA Tour except for Atwal, a close friend of Woods who entered via sponsor's exemption.
All the leaders played in the morning before Aronimink grew harder and faster. Woods was among those victimized by the afternoon conditions and the difficult setup. The tee times reverse Friday. Woods goes off at 8:26 a.m.
"I hit it good all day. I just let my round get away from me. It was just unreal," said Woods, no longer officially the host of the tournament after losing his sponsorship with AT&T. "I didn't hit any putts today. I putted awful."
Woods' round was typified by his play at 18, where he smoked a drive down the middle of the fairway, hit a wedge to within five feet, then missed the birdie putt. At No. 16, a par 5, a fanned wedge shot led to a bogey. At No. 17, Woods pulled a 6-iron that hit the green but backed up, down a slope and into a pond on his way to a double-bogey.
The bad finish ended a day that began with promise after Woods drained a 61-foot birdie putt at No. 5. He played the first 13 holes in 1-under par.
"You drive the ball in the fairway here, the ball's running for miles," Woods said. "Our whole group had wedges most of the day."
With a bunched leader board and Woods' poor finish, the star of the day was the course. Beautiful Aronimink played like a major -- fast but fair -- making a dramatic first impression.
"It's a great golf course," said Ryan Moore (67), one of six players who trail by one shot. "It's straightforward, and if you hit good shots, you get rewarded with good spots."