Sports

Putting woes slow Woods in PGA Tour event

Putting woes slow Woods in PGA Tour event

Woods will use a new set of irons this week at Quail Hollow after failing to produce any magic with his old set at Augusta.

The 14-time major victor has not played since finishing tied for 32nd at Augusta National last month, and returns to Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina this week for the first time since 2012.

That was before John Peterson came to life late Thursday (Friday NZ time). Then he holed a 56-degree wedge from 107 yards in the fairway for eagle on the next hole.

"You can't come into an event thinking that, well, Tiger's going to win, I'm going to play for second place".

Rory McIlroy, a two-time victor at Wells Fargo, was among 10 players at 68.

Kiwi Danny Lee will need a good second round to make the cut after a four-over 75. "If I did hit a green, I hit it above the hole, I hit it in the wrong spot". They're on the slower side. The greens aren't quite as fast as I remember but they are more hard.

"I just gave you credit", Love shouted back.

It showed all day in his inconsistent play on the greens. He missed four putts inside 8 feet, including 4-footers on Nos.

On a day when two-times Wells Fargo victor Rory McIlroy started with a smooth three-under-par 68, Peterson made consecutive eagles for a sizzling 65 at Quail Hollow in Charlotte.

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In 1997, he rampaged to a 12-shot victory to claim his first Masters title and then took virtual ownership of the Green Jacket with three wins from 2001 to 2005.

"It felt great", Woods said of the layoff. "I feel like I've played my way into the rhythm of it".

"I was a little apprehensive today".

Woods has not won on the PGA Tour since 2013, but is optimistic about his prospects this week.

In 2007, Woods won the Wachovia Championship, the forerunner to the Wells Fargo, but a lot changed since he last played Quail Hollow. "It's longer, more hard".

His ball striking seemed to be just fine. If I just make a few putts, I'd probably shoot two or three under par, which is fine.

When Woods walked off the course after the 18th hole, he fought through that same swarm of fans. He felt the grass on the greens had grown since earlier. Tough break, but good sign with the driver off the first tee. "The greens will be smoother, should be freshly cut, should be a little bit quicker", he said.

When Woods finished his round, the leaderboard was stacked with five players at 4 under.

Woods says he's now focussing on the events ahead, including next month's U.S. Open and July's 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and so much so, it's meant he's not had time to phone the likes of Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas and golf's 20-something superstars as Woods had done so often throughout his rehabilitation from a fourth back surgery.


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