Tiger Woods' opening round at the Turkish Airlines Open got off to a late start due to a weather delay, and it met an abrupt end due to darkness, but the world's No. 1 player put himself within earshot of the leaders through 10 holes Thursday.
The damp course was ripe for the picking, as a number of players posted low scores. Despite that, Woods seemed to struggle at times, as his tee shots and approaches were often inaccurate. Even so, he was able to pull himself together and end the day with a solid score, as evidenced by his scorecard:
Woods' time in Turkey started out in grand fashion Tuesday when he hit drives across the Bosphorus Bridge from Europe to Asia, as seen in this photo courtesy of SportsCenter:
His first-round showing wasn't quite as glamorous, but it was a decent start nonetheless, as he is tied with several golfers for 50th place at one under, six shots behind leaders Paul Casey, Darren Fichardt and Steve Webster.
Woods was part of the day's final group along with Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, according to Golf Channel's Matt Ginella, so Tiger had plenty of incentive to perform well since he was competing alongside two of his toughest foes in this tournament.
Tiger, with Rose & Stenson, is final pairing of day. Blixt told me -4 thru 4 start isn't out of question. pic.twitter.com/Wc0nu4aQTb— Matt Ginella (@MattGinellaGC) November 7, 2013
Based on the way things went for Tiger on the first hole, he seemed poised for a monster day. Woods hit a wayward tee shot, but his approach was perfect, which led to a routine birdie make. According to Golf Channel's Tiger Tracker, Woods' great recovery suggested that he would have an easy go of it.
Well, that was easy. Birdie on the first from about 4 feet. On pace to shoot, what, 54ish?— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 7, 2013
Unfortunately for Tiger, though, that wasn't necessarily the case. For whatever reason, Woods really struggled to find the fairway off the tee for much of the day. In many ways, it was indicative of his season as a whole. He has shown flashes of the Tiger of old, but all too often, his inconsistent play has held him back.
Following his birdie on the first hole, Woods came back with pars on the second and third. Shaky tee shots put him behind the eight ball, but his superior scrambling ability was able to save him.
Tiger missed an opportunity to gain another stroke on the leaders on the fourth hole, however. Woods missed an intermediate birdie putt and had to settle for a par in the midst of a picturesque scene at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal Golf Course in Antalya.
That failed birdie attempt may have frustrated Woods, as he came back with one of his worst shots of the day off the tee on the fifth hole, although he narrowly avoided disaster.
Par-3 fifth hole, 222 yards, and it's a one-armed swing, barely crossed the water. Good Lord, that was a horrible shot.— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 7, 2013
Woods once again saved par, though, and he followed that up with pars on No. 6 and No. 7 as well, due largely to his spectacular wedge play around the greens.
Tiger continued to live somewhat dangerously on the par-three eighth, as he left himself a long birdie putt, but he drained it to move to two under on the day.
And he makes it at eight, that's a bonus. Guess he was sick of hitting last off the tee. 2 under.— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 7, 2013
Woods was due for a poor result after avoiding the bogey bug through eight holes, and he was finally bitten to close out the front nine, as more inaccuracy off the tee put him in a bad spot.
Tiger makes bogey on the ninth hole. Turns in 1 under. His scraggly ballstriking finally caught up with him there.— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 7, 2013
Despite the disappointing finish to his front nine, Woods shook it off and managed to hit his first fairway of the day on the 10th.
Hey, hey, what do ya say...Tiger hit his first fairway today. With an iron on No. 10.— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 7, 2013
He put himself in position for a makeable birdie putt to negate the bogey on No. 10, but the putter failed Woods once again, and he had to settle for yet another par.
Tiger was in line to make amends on the par-five 11th when he hit what was unquestionably his best drive of the day, but darkness ended play for the day with Woods set up for a birdie putt.
That's gonna do it. It's getting too dark. So Tiger marks and will have an up and down for birdie on the par-5 11th hole.— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 7, 2013
Provided the weather cooperates on Friday, Woods will have a long day ahead of him, as he'll have to finish his first round as well as the entire second round. Day 1 ended on a positive note, though, which means Tiger certainly appears to be in position to make a run moving forward.
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