Orlando, FL -- Tiger Woods is four back from leader Justin Rose at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He played with Rose and Ernie Els, and they along with the rest of the morning groups, experienced chilly and windy conditions that elevated scores for the first couple hours of play. After that it was just the difficulty of the golf course that got in the way of low scoring.
“I certainly didn’t play my best, but got around and made a few good saves out there. I haven’t seen these pins out there (in previous years). They’re pretty dicey. They’re really tough to get after, especially with the wind blowing the way it is,” Woods said after his round. “It was so cool and the ball wasn’t flying, and it presented a pretty good challenge.”
Playing the back nine first, Woods had bogeys at the 17th and 18th holes and on the front nine he bogeyed the 7th. He attributed that to a poor bunker shot. “I just threw the club in there and it skidded on me,” he said.
“I stubbed my toe there at 17 and 18 and made eagle on 16,” he explained.
He also had birdies at the 12th and then at four, five and six and yet felt like his game left a lot to be desired.
“I didn’t drive it well, didn’t hit my irons well and didn’t control my distances well or my trajectory,” he added.
He said had good saves at the first and second holes and made a bad mistake at seven, which resulted in bogey.
However he was pleased with the par fives. “I played them five under,” he said.
On the week’s important question, the NCAA tourney, Woods said he has Indiana all the way.
Justin Rose posted his best-ever round at Bay Hill with a 33 on the back nine and a 32 on the front for -7. He had six birdies and an eagle to balance against one bogey which came at the par four 11th.
Rose attributed some of his good play to being with Woods and some to good course management and better putting.
“I think when you play with Tiger, you’re sharp mentally,” he explained.” It just elevates the day a little bit because he brings the crowd, he brings an atmosphere with him, and I think that helps in a sense. It helps you get in the zone.”
Rose agreed with Woods about the morning conditions. “It was cold, it was windy, and the rough was thick,” he said.
What helped Rose score was a hot putter, a part of his game that he has been working on sine last June. “I dedicated myself at making a few changes and getting better at that part of my game,” he said. He has been working with David Orr. “There’s been a lot of technical stuff going in to get me to the point where today I can just go out and putt.”
Kathy Bissell is a Golf Writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand or from official interview materials from the USGA, PGA Tour or PGA of America.