Tiger Woods’ putter bailed him out on several occasions during the first round of the U.S. Open on Thursday at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, N.Y., but he too many missed fairways (and too many bogeys) hindered his ascent up the leaderboard.
Woods, who teed off at 8:07 a.m. ET alongside Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa, opened with a three-over 73 — playing the final two holes in three over. He’s eight shots behind Thomas, the clubhouse leader (five-under 65), with the afternoon wave just beginning to tee off. Woods was T69 when he finished.
Woods hit 6 of 14 fairways and 9 of 18 greens in regulation. He ended his round ranked second in Strokes Gained: Putting (+2.72), but 91st in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (-0.64).
“I did not finish off the round like I needed to,” Woods said. “I made a bunch of putts in the middle part of the round. It seemed like most of my drives on the front nine landed in the fairway and ended up in bad spots, and I tried to stay as patient as possible, and unfortunately just did not finish off my round the way I needed to.”
Woods opened with three straight pars but bogeyed 4 and 5. On the 4th he three-putted from about 60 feet, and on 5 he failed to get up and down from a green-side bunker.
He bounced back with a birdie on 6, only to have another bogey on 8 when his drive found the left rough and he couldn’t advance it farther than 70 yards.
But at two over through eight, Woods got hot, making birdies on 9, 10 and 11 with made putts from 30, 24 and 19 feet, respectively. He almost made it four straight birdies but lipped out a 10-footer on 12.
Woods gave two back with bogeys on 13 and 14. He failed to get up and down from the bunker on the par-3 13th and drove it in the rough and couldn’t hit the green on his approach into 14. He sank yet another lengthy birdie putt on 16 — this one from just under 40 feet — but followed it with a bogey on 17, the result of a missed fairway and missed green. Woods closed his round with a disastrous double bogey on 18. He missed the fairway and couldn’t find the green with his second or third shots, and he failed to roll in a big-breaking bogey putt from about 6 feet.
Woods’ second round begins at 1:27 p.m. ET on Friday off the 10th tee at Winged Foot.
“I don’t see any reason why it won’t get harder and get more difficult,” Woods said. “I just think that the golf course is there to be had. They gave us a lot of opportunities with the hole locations. Obviously they could have made it a lot more difficult if they wanted to, but I thought it was very fair.”