Palmer leads as Woods starts badly


Published: Friday 30th January 2015 by The News Editor

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Tiger Woods had to battle back from a tough start to his first round of 2015 as fellow American Ryan Palmer led the Waste Management Phoenix Open after day one.

Woods, playing in his first event since finishing joint last at the Hero World Challenge last month, was five over par after 12 holes at TPC Scottsdale – tied for 124th place.

The 14-time major winner rebounded with an eagle at the 13th to finish his round two over, but that still left him nine shots off the lead as Palmer carded a flawless seven-under-par 64.

Bubba Watson, playing alongside Woods, and Keegan Bradley were a shot behind Palmer as was Daniel Berger, who still had two holes to complete when play was suspended due to darkness.

Woods, 38, drove into a bunker as he started with a bogey and he followed that up with another dropped shot after his approach fell short.

He shockingly fell to four over with a double bogey at the par-three fourth after another poor approach, but holed a 13-foot putt on the next for his only birdie of the front nine.

Woods seemed to have steadied himself but a woeful chip shot over the back of the ninth green set up another bogey.

The nightmare continued with another poor drive on the 11th, with his recovery shot hitting a tree and he could only leave a 65ft putt for par which he missed.

He eagled the par-five 13th, a wonderful 225-yard approach shot setting up a tap-in from inside a foot.

A birdie at 17 then saw him finish with a 73, a good recovery after his nightmare start.

Alongside him, Watson bounced back from a bogey at the second hole with an eagle at the next, and t hree birdies in four holes after the turn took him to five under.

He sent a stunning drive on the 332-yard par-four 17th to within six feet – though he had to settle for birdie after missing his first putt.

That left him one shot off the summit at six under as P almer started on the back nine and three birdies and an eagle saw him turn five under, before back-to-back birdies at the second and third left him on top.

Berger made his seventh birdie of the day at the third, having made five in succession from the 13th, but he bogeyed the sixth and after parring the next, he was made to wait for his final two holes.

Bradley was three under for his back nine and though he bogeyed the first, he followed it immediately with three birdies and added one more at the par-three seventh.

Scotland’s Martin Laird was at five under alongside Americans Zach Johnson, Robert Streb and Ben Martin while Graham DeLaet, Angel Cabrera and Justin Leonard were among the group a further stroke back.

The tournament at TPC Scottsdale is renowned for players handing out gifts to fans beside the 16th tee, and Watson did not disappoint.

With the NFL’s Super Bowl taking place in nearby Glendale on Sunday, Watson donned the number 25 jersey of Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman before throwing it and several others into the crowd.

Morgan Hoffmann took the honours, though, teeing off in a giant orange foam cowboy hat which he then handed to a fan. Hoffmann bogeyed the hole and was one over for his round.

Published: Friday 30th January 2015 by The News Editor

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