Tiger Woods at Players Championship 2013: Day 1 Score, Highlights and Analysis
Tiger birdied all four par-fives en route to a five-under 67 in perhaps one of his finest rounds ever on the Stadium Course, otherwise known as his personal house of horrors over the past several years. Playing from the fairway all day, Tiger committed just one bogey, on the day’s final hole, and could have posted an even better score had a couple close putts fell early in his round.
If not for the five on 18, the opening round would have been Tiger’s first ever bogey-free effort at TPC Sawgrass. Instead, Woods will have to settle for the fourth-place tie as he sets out early on Friday for his second round.
Check out the opening round that put Tiger in contention for a second career Players Championship title.
A five on the par-four 18th might have cost Tiger Woods a bogey-free round and a tie for second after the first round of The Players Championship, but the world's top-ranked golfer will be more than happy to take his five-under 67. His first-ever opening round in the 60s at TPC Sawgrass, Woods finished his solid round just four shots behind leader Roberto Castro and with significant confidence heading into Friday's second round.
He might not be in the lead at the moment, but if Woods drives the ball like he did on Thursday the rest of the week, he will be a significant factor come Sunday afternoon.
Tiger Woods chunks a chip shot on 18 to finish with a bogey. But he's at -5, and only 4 strokes off the lead bit.ly/12iD7Y9— Golf.com (@si_golf) May 9, 2013
One really bad chip and the bogey-free round is no more. Tiger make five on the 18th hole to finish five-under, one stroke shy of a second-place tie.
Tiger hits a perfect 8 iron into 18, fell off back of green, chunks a chip & his first bogey of the day. 67; still a very good start.— Robert Lusetich (@RobertLusetich) May 9, 2013
Another solid approach shot that just rolls off the green for Tiger at 18. Disappointed result to the shot but considering the round he has played Woods will walk up 18 with a smile on his face to be sure.
Jason Dufner made an eagle on the 18th hole today. Just the third ever. Here is the video … sports.yahoo.com/blogs/golf-dev…— Shane Bacon (@shanebacon) May 9, 2013
One of the best tee shots on the 18th hole I've seen from Tiger Woods at the Stadium Course. Woods laced a drive down the center of the fairway and now seeks a birdie that would give him sole possession of second place.
Last domino to fall for Tiger is solid push-draw with the driver. Does it with that 5 wood, as we just saw on 18. Beautiful shape. #players— Robert Lusetich (@RobertLusetich) May 9, 2013
Some pars are better than others and Tiger's three on the 17th ranks as a really good one. Facing a difficult putt from well-above the hole, Woods coaxed the ball to within about three feet. After cleaning up the mess, Tiger walked to the 18th hole for his final driving test of what has been a strong day off the tee for the world's top golfer.
Birdies on all the par5s for Tiger. An obviously important aspect for him over the years. Rarely does it here. #Players— Bob Harig (@BobHarig) May 9, 2013
Perhaps Tiger was getting some practice in for his Sunday tee shot on the 17th. Playing a wedge from about 124 yards, Woods hit the right side of the green near the traditional Sunday pin placement from a good distance away from today's down at the front of the island green. Yes it's dry, but Tiger faces a challenging putt about five minutes from now.
Tiger Woods just hit an incredible shot on the 17th hole … if it was Sunday. Sadly, it isn't. His putt will need to be better than most now— Shane Bacon (@shanebacon) May 9, 2013
The putt drops for Tiger and he climbs to six-under. It's time for the 17th where Woods is 11-over on his career.
Solid chip by Woods leaves less than four feet or so for Tigers fourth birdie of the day. Two holes ahead , Mickelson makes bogey on the 18th to finish a disappointing round of even-par 72. Given the conditions, Lefty won't be happy with the opening round. He definitely won't be pleased by the nine stroke deficit.
Short and left for Tiger's approach to the 16th. The ball nestled down into the rough but Tiger has a lot of real estate to work with between himself and the flag. Things are getting interesting in the late evening around the 16th and 17th.
Mashed Potato is out, Sausage and Egg Roll is the phrase of choice of the clowns behind the 17th tee. Splendid.— Tweeter Alliss (@TweeterAlliss) May 9, 2013
Favoring distance over safety, Tiger opts for the driver on 16 and finds the first cut of rough. It's likely go time from there on the par-five. A birdie on 16 would get Woods to six-under and into a tie with, who else, Rory McIlroy as well as Zach Johnson. Are we setting up a Rory vs. Tiger battle over the weekend. That would be sweet.
With a third consecutive par, the Tiger birdie binge has been suspended but his play remains top-notch. Woods just missed his long birdie effort on the 15th and looks now to birdie his fourth par-5 of the day at the always exciting 16th. It's a long tournament, but Woods' play so far today signals he will be a factor come the weekend.
Critics might focus on Tiger not winning the Masters as a setback, but him playing well at Sawgrass is enormous in evaluating his game.— Shane Bacon (@shanebacon) May 9, 2013
Things are about to get real interesting on the 17th hole. Phil Mickelson is there right now and just hit inside 10 feet. Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia will be next. Then comes Tiger Woods in the midst of his best-ever opening round in The Players Championship. Sounds like the party is about to get a little raucous.
The chip is simply vintage Tiger. The effort just missed the cup and stopped nicely for a short par attempt that he knocked down. This could be the up-and-down that sends Tiger to a strong finish over the final four holes of the Stadium Course.
Thankfully he pulls the three-wood on the 15th and, surprise, surprise, finds the fairway.
Tiger takes a free drop from the cart path for his second shot and comes up short on his approach to the 14th. Will need to get up and down from the front right of the green to keep his bogey-free round going.
The goal entering the back-nine stretch of 13 and 14 is to get through it at par. Tiger is halfway there after a rather easy three on the 13th. Long, tight and with water down the entire left side, the 14th hole may be the toughest par-4 at TPC Sawgrass this side of the 18th hole.
Woods elects to hit driver off the tee and sprays it right past the deep moguls. Should have reached for that three-wood. Let's see if he can make par from this trouble to keep his bogey-free round intact.
The Woods/Snedeker birdie streak is likely to end on the 13th. Woods has an outside shot at birdie from about 30 feet or so. Snedeker, however, is in the bushes to the right of the green after badly pulling his tee shot. A par would be great work from there.
Since the eighth hole, Tiger and Snedeker are a combined nine-under par through five holes. Imagine playing those two in a Saturday morning match at the club? Straight cash.
Four straight birdies and now to five-under for Tiger Woods who sits just a stroke out of a second-place tie heading to the par-three 13th. Playing partner Brandt Snedeker sank a putt to do Tiger one better with his fifth consecutive birdie. These guys are making The Stadium Course look downright easy at the moment.
Tiger Woods birdies his fourth hole in a row. Now at -5, just four back of the leader.— Eye on Golf (@EyeOnGolf) May 9, 2013
Tiger Woods seems to be rubbing off on Brandt Snedeker. After two bogeys early in his round, Snedeker has four straight birdies and is at two-under par for the round.
Perhaps Tiger needs to go out on the town in New York City with girlfriend Lindsey Vonn before every big tournament he plays. The world's top player caused a minor stir earlier this week when he appeared to be somewhat intoxicated while enjoying an evening out with Vonn. Whatever works, right.
As you would expect, Woods opted to go for it on 11 and just came up short of the green but clean from the water that claimed Donald. Should be a straightforward up and down for a third straight birdie for Tiger, who is trying to keep pace in a low-scoring first round.
Palmer stays hot, birdies 6 (his 15th) and is now -6, T2 and still has a par 5 remaining— Amanda Balionis (@Amanda_Balionis) May 9, 2013
To lay up or go for it. Tiger has quite the decision to make from the fairway on the par-5 11th. Playing in front of him Luke Donald found the water on his approaches just several minutes ago. His strategy to lay up on the ninth hole earned him a birdie.
Tiger has never posted an opening round in the 60s at the Players Championship. At three-under and sitting in the fairway on the par-five 11th, he may well be on the way to doing just that. Not to beat a dead horse here, but Woods really is driving the ball beautifully since missing the fairway on the opening hole.
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