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Tiger’s birdie binge, Spieth’s scare and what else you missed in Round 1 of the Zozo Championship

October 24, 2019

Tiger Woods and Gary Woodland both shot 64 to take the overnight lead after the first round of the Zozo Championship on Thursday in Japan.

It’s Woods’ first start of the season, and even though his round got off to a rough start, the 15-time major champ was able to get things back on track in front of a massive crowd. Here’s what you missed in the first round of the Zozo.

The root of Jordan Spieth’s issues

Jordan Spieth opened the Zozo Championship with a four-over 74 and is tied for 63rd, but he also had a minor scare while playing the par-4 9th hole.

Playing from the rough, Spieth had a tree root in his way and wasn’t able to advance the ball, as it slammed against the root and was stalled. After he swung a second time and sent the ball up the fairway he was in obvious discomfort. He dropped his club, looked at either his wrist or hand and then hunched over. Spieth didn’t speak to reporters after his round, but his back-nine scorecard doesn’t indicate any glaring injury issues. He birdied the very next hole, the 10th, and made bogeys on 12 and 15 to shoot one over on the back side.

Tiger’s birdie binge

After opening with three straight bogeys, Woods made a par on 13 (he started on the back) and then made three consecutive birdies to get back to even par. After a birdie on 18, he made five more on the front to shoot 29. He finished his round with nine birdies in his last 15 holes.

“I’m just trying to turn it to even par at the turn, that’s just basically my goal,” Woods said. “And I was able to get one more out of it, squeeze one more out of it, and lo and behold I have the easier side I’m going to and hopefully I can squeeze a couple more out of it, and I did a couple more better than that, which was nice.”

Presidents Cup audition

Woods shares the first-round lead with the 2019 U.S. Open champion Woodland, who is also vying for a Presidents Cup captains pick. Woods will be naming them in the coming weeks.

“Right now I’m just trying to continue the golf tournament, give myself a chance on Sunday,” Woodland said. “He knows how much I want to be on that team. I’ve talked to him about it. So for me, I’ll just go out and play well and everything will take care of itself.”

Starting early

Round 2 tee times have been moved up one hour due to heavy rains in the forecast. Players will tee off between 7-9 a.m. local (6-8 p.m. ET Thursday).

“I think it’s going to be sloppy and tough for us [Friday] morning before the storm gets in and I think we’re probably going to get a little bit wet while we’re playing out there tomorrow, and then it’s going to be a grind on the weekend,” Woods said. “There’s going to be a lot of golf on the weekend for all of us, probably be close to, what, 54 holes or so for some of the guys that are going out there on the weekend. So it will be a long couple days for us.”