By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
AKRON, Ohio – Tiger Woods failed to break 70 on Thursday in the first round of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational for only the second time in the 11 events he’s played at Firestone Country Club.
Woods missed a putt of 2 feet, 9 inches for par on the 18th hole to finish even for the day. As a result, he’ll start the second round seven strokes off the pace set by Jim Furyk, who shot 63, as Woods tries to win the event for a record-tying eighth time.
Tee to green on Thursday, Woods was solid, hitting nine of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens in regulation but 33 putts had Woods ranked 73rd in the field of 78.
“Well, I hit it good today,” Woods said. “Unfortunately once I got to the greens, probably I think I averaged about four putts per hole, so it was a great day on the greens. …
“I just hit bad putts today. I hit bad putts. My speed was off. The putts that I pured, I didn’t make. And then the bad putts didn’t have a chance.”
Woods played well early in the day. He actually was 3 under through 11 holes after he rolled in birdie putts of 8 and 6 feet, respectively, as he made the turn.
But then he missed the green at the 13th hole, as well as the 4-footer to save par. An errant drive at the par-5 16th paved the way for his second bogey before Woods missed another short par-saver at No. 18
“Just keep going,” Woods said, outlining his mindset after he got to 3 under. “I mean, that’s not that bad. At the time I was three back of the lead and hadn’t made a thing. I thought that was a good sign. Unfortunately finished awful, and here we are.”
And within minutes, Woods was headed for the range and the practice green.