La Jolla - Tiger Woods endured a rocky return at the Farmers
Insurance Open in California on Thursday, posting the highest season-opening
PGA Tour round of his career with a four-over-par 76.
Woods, playing his first full-field PGA Tour event since
returning from more than a year off with a back injury, carded a bogey-strewn
opening round on the Torrey Pines Golf Club's South Course.
It was anything but a happy return to the challenging coastal
layout outside San Diego where the former world number one has won no fewer
than eight times in his career, most notably his epic 2008 US Open victory.
Woods' previous highest season-opening round was a 73 shot
at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in 2015, according to PGA Tour officials.
"I was fighting out there all day," Woods said
The 41-year-old's round unravelled during the back nine,
when three consecutive bogeys starting on the 12th were capped with a
double-bogey on the 15th.
A further bogey on the 17th left him facing the prospect of
finishing five over before a birdie on the last - nervelessly draining an
awkward eight-foot putt - reduced the damage.
"I let it slip away in the middle part of the back nine and unfortunately didn't hit very good shots," said Woods, who took encouragement from a solid if unspectacular start which left him at one under through 11.
"I fought my tail off out there. I fought hard. I was
in a good spot to really shoot a good round today and didn't really have my
best stuff early," Woods said.
"But I got through there and that's one of the
positives obviously I'm going to take out of it."
The round left Woods 11 shots behind first-round leader
Justin Rose of England, who posted a seven-under-par 65 earlier on Thursday.
Rose, the 2013 US Open champion, produced an eagle on his
last hole after a blistering back nine on Torrey Pines' North Course.
The 36-year-old 2013 US Open champion hit three birdies and
two bogeys over the front nine to go to the turn in one under.
But a birdie on the North Course's par-four first - his
10th of the day - launched a low-scoring back nine, with an eagle three on the
par-five fifth followed by back-to-back birdies.
Rose's momentum faltered however with a bogey on the penultimate
hole before a brilliant eagle on the last resurrected his round.
"Great start to the tournament," said a satisfied
"The key to the round was having four eagle putts. I
hit all the par fives in two so managed to convert two of those," added
Rose, citing his barnstorming closing eagle as the highlight of the round.
"Obviously a very sweet way to finish. It was just a perfect
five-wood into the last hole."
Canada's Adam Hadwin, fresh from a second placed finish at
La Quinta last weekend which included a rare 59, was a shot back after carding
a six-under-par 66.
The 29-year-old launched his round with a birdie on the
first before adding two more on the sixth and eighth holes to reach the turn at
A blemish on the par-four 12th, where he missed an 11-foot
putt to bogey was soon overcome with a trio of birdies on the next three holes.
He snared a further birdie on the 17th with a 12-foot putt
to move to six under.
"I'm just playing some good golf right now,"
Hadwin said, admitting he was still smarting from his failure to close out
victory in La Quinta on Sunday.
"A little disappointed I couldn't pull it off, but (I)
went back out and kind of got started where I left off last week."
Lurking behind Hadwin on five under were a group of five
players, Gary Woodland, Charles Howell III, Beau Hossler, Trey Mullinax and
Brad Fritsch of Canada, who all carded 67s.
A group of 11 players were a further shot back.
World number one Jason Day, who had gone round with Woods, was eight off the lead after posting a one-over-par 73.
Leading first-round scores on Thursday in the USPGA Tour Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines (USA unless noted):
65 - Justin Rose (ENG)
66 - Adam Hadwin (CAN)
67 - Gary Woodland, Brad Fritsch (CAN), Charles Howell, Beau Hossler, Trey Mullinax
68 - Jonas Blixt (SWE), Stewart Cink, Brandt Snedeker, Graham DeLaet (CAN), Kim Whee (KOR), Patrick Rodgers, Robert Streb, Pat Perez, Brian Stuard, Brian Harman, Ryan Brehm
69 - Marc Leishman (AUS), Kevin Streelman, Cameron Tringale, Brendan Steele, Nick Taylor (CAN), Paul Casey (ENG), Will MacKenzie, Keegan Bradley, Cameron Percy (AUS), Bud Cauley, Ben Crane, Billy Hurley, Ollie Schniederjans
76 - Tiger Woods