Tiger Woods carded five birdies on the day, which normally would be cause for celebration except for the fact that he also carded six bogeys and one double. Tiger Woods was left to regret an exasperating finish to his opening round at the US Open on Thursday.
He failed to take benefit from the perfect conditions at the infamously hard Winged Foot course. Woods recovered from two over par after five holes with the aid of a hat-trick of birdies around the turn, only to bogey the 17th and run up a double bogey on the last after duffing a pitch from short of the green.
The resulting 73 left the Masters champion eight shots behind playing partner and clubhouse leader Justin Thomas. Thomas enjoyed a one-shot lead over Ryder Cup team-mate Patrick Reed. “Well, it was a bit of ebb and flow to the round today,” Woods said.
“I made a bunch of putts in the middle part of the round. “It seemed like most of my drives on the front nine landed in the fairway and ended up in bad spots, and I tried to stay as patient as possible, and unfortunately just did not finish off my round the way I needed to.
“I thought the golf course was set up fantastic.
“I thought that what they did with the hole locations were very fair today. It gave us an opportunity to make some birdies, and you look at most of the scores, and the guys took advantage of it.
“I don't see any reason why it won't get harder and get more difficult. I just think that the golf course is there to be had. “They gave us a lot of opportunities with the hole locations”. Rory McIlroy ended with a three-under-par 67 as seven early starters broke the par of 70.
Colin Montgomerie's 69, on the other hand, was the only sub-par score in the opening round at Winged Foot in 2006 which was eventually won by Australia’s Geoff Ogilvy with a five over par score. Woods got a lesson in how ruthless the rough can be.
Every time he drifted even a few feet off the fairway, he had to hack out of ankle-deep rough. Woods closed out his day by going bogey-double bogey, including a truly wretched chunk at the bottom of the mountainside that is the 18th green.
This is definitely not the way you want to go out, but if Woods can focus on the positives, he ought to be able to fight his way into the weekend.