Travelers Championship

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Tiger Woods shoots even par in opening round at the Honda Classic

February 22, 2018

Sam Greenwood

Tiger Woods' opening round at the 2018 Honda Classic was relatively boring. And that's a good thing.

There were few birdies, but more importantly, no splash-landing disasters in his first trip around the always dangerous PGA National since 2014. Woods shot an even-par 70, which puts him four shots off the early pace set by Alex Noren. He told reporters it was "easily" his best ball-striking round of the seven he's played so far this season.

Woods' biggest error came on PGA National's easiest hole. After finding a fairway bunker off the tee at the par-5 third (Woods' 12th hole of the day), Woods laid up, but missed the green from 150 yards. His delicate bunker shot hung in the rough and he wasn't able to get up and down. In fact, Woods needed to hole a tricky five footer to avoid a triple bogey.

He bounced back at the next hole, knocking his approach to six feet on the par-4 fourth and converting his birdie putt. Woods made par on his final five holes.

Starting on the back nine at PGA National, Woods made two birdies on his first four holes before bogeying No. 16 -- the second of the course's famed three-hole stretch known as "The Bear Trap" -- after getting a little too aggressive with a back-left hole location.

The most exciting moment of the day for the 14-time major champ came after a wayward drive on No. 12 wound up behind a pretzel stand. But after the stand was moved, Woods hit his approach shot to the fringe and two-putted for par.

Woods, who struggled mightily with the driver last week at Riviera, stuck to a game plan of hitting mostly 3-woods and long irons off the tee. He still only managed to hit seven (of 14) fairways and 10 greens in regulation, albeit in windy conditions.

This is Woods' third PGA Tour start of 2018. Previously, he finished T-23 at the Farmers Insurance Open and missed the cut at the Genesis Open.

"Last week I just missed in the wrong spots and couldn't do much," said Woods, who bettered playing partners Patton Kizzire and Brandt Snedeker by a combined seven shots on Thursday. "Today my misses were much easier to handle."