Friday, December 19, 2014

Weir, Hadwin chasing early lead

SAN DIEGO—One week after he began his year by missing the cut, Tiger Woods didn’t notice a big difference in his game.
It was everything else about the opening round at Torrey Pines that changed.

Relatively calm conditions. Rough that didn’t cover the top of his shoes. A course that has been good to him since he was a teenager.
And despite his putter not co-operating at the end of his round, a four-under 68 on his scorecard.
Woods was on the verge of joining defending champ Brandt Snedeker and K.J. Choi atop the leaderboard yesterday in the Farmers Insurance Open until missing three-straight putts inside 12 feet late in his round.
Snedeker was bogey-free on the North Course for a 65. Choi, meanwhile, birdied three of his last four holes on the tougher South Course for his 65.
Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C. and Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., who both played the North Course yesterday, are among eight players who are a shot back at 66.
Weir had an eagle-three on the 10th hole, and appeared to be in great shape to make his first cut since 2011.
Woods, a seven-time champion at Torrey Pines, at least got off the South Course without further damage when he had to lay up on the par-five 18th hole, hit wedge over the green and into a bunker, and made a six-foot putt for par.
Woods three-putted for double bogey on the fourth hole, though he knew he had a pair of par-fives to make up ground. He did that—and more.
He made a 12-footer for birdie, an eagle by holing a bunker shot on the par-five sixth, and birdie putts on the eighth and ninth holes to get back into the game.
“I made a few mistakes out there but I made some nice plays, as well,” Woods said.
Graham DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask. had a 68 yesterday on the North Course.
Ottawa’s Brad Fritsch is another shot back with a three-under 69 on the North Course while Calgary’s Stephen Ames turned in a 70 on the North.
Phil Mickelson had quite the taxing day with a 72 on the North, which played about one-and-a-half strokes easier than the course that hosted the U.S. Open in 2008.
David Hearn of Brantford, Ont. carded a 72 on the South.
Snedeker already is developing quite the love affair with this municipal course along the Pacific Bluffs. As a rookie, he was 10-under through 10 holes and had to settle for a 61 on the North Course.
He finished third that year.
Then last year, he rallied from seven shots behind in the final round, got into a playoff when Kyle Stanley made triple bogey on the 18th, and won on the second playoff hole.
One year later, he was right back at it.
“It’s funny, you look at all the golf courses I should play well on, this should not be one of them,” Snedeker admitted.
“This is a long, difficult golf course with lots of rough and hitting a lot of iron shots.
“My strength is driving and putting, so it doesn’t really add up well around here.
“But for some reason, it’s been good to me,” he noted.

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