FILE PHOTO: Oct 21, 2019; Chiba, JAPAN; Tiger Woods plays a tee shot on the 7th hole during The Challenge: Japan Skins golf competition at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Matt Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
January 23, 2020
By Rory Carroll
SAN DIEGO (Reuters) – Sebastian Cappelen grabbed the early lead in the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open on Thursday while Tiger Woods gave a solid display in his first start of the year as he guns for a record-breaking 83rd PGA Tour victory.
The 29-year-old Dane got hot early, mixing five birdies and a bogey on the front nine and added three more birdies and one bogey on the back nine at Torrey Pines.
Cappelen was six-under par heading into his final hole, one stroke clear of six players including world number two and tournament favorite Rory McIlroy, who had seven birdies.
But all the attention was on Woods, who was trailed by a large crowd as he made his way around the oceanside course on a sun-soaked day that saw parasailers floating by before cool, thick fog moved in during the afternoon.
Woods, playing alongside world number three Jon Rahm and promising newcomer Collin Morikawa, looked rusty at the outset and managed just an even par 36 through his first nine holes behind two birdies and two bogeys.
But he gained momentum and capped his day with a birdie for a round of three-under par 69, three off the pace.
“Overall I’m pleased to get something in the red,” said Woods, who admitted that controlling his nerves was a challenge when he first teed off on Thursday.
“I was definitely feeling the adrenaline,” he added. “I missed the competition and I was trying to keep everything as calm as a possibly could.
“I didn’t do a very good job of that starting out, made a quick bogey early but felt like I fought back.”
The 44-year-old American will move to the more challenging, recently renovated South Course on Friday as he tries to break Sam Snead’s record of 82 PGA Tour victories.
(Editing by Ken Ferris)