Tiger Woods is 1 under at the Masters but faces a 23-hole test on Friday

Augusta, Ga. — Tiger Woods escaped Augusta National Golf Club's swirling winds on Thursday, but the five-time Masters champion's biggest test looms Friday.

Woods managed to finish 13 holes at 1 under before the start of the 88th Masters was delayed by inclement weather at 7:51 p.m. ET. The 15-time major champion, who has not completed an official PGA Tour event since returning from ankle surgery in April 2023, will play 23 holes on Friday.

Woods, 48, will play the final five holes of the first round when the start resumes at 7:50 a.m. The second round will start at 8 PM

Woods said he hopes he won't have to wait long between rounds.

“Well, it was nice to finish up to 13,” he said. “We'll warm up, put our heads down there and start our rounds. I think the run is pretty good between 20 and 30 minutes between rounds, so it's a natural flow from the finish. The first round and the second follow through.”

Over the past two years, Woods has often talked about the physical therapy, massages and ice baths he uses before and after rounds to prepare him to compete.

Through 13 holes, Woods fared much better than he did at the 2023 Masters, when he was forced to withdraw due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot before resuming a weather-delayed third round. 10 days later he underwent ankle surgery.

See also  Marvin Harrison Jr. Masterclass Ohio State Beats Penn State 20-12

“The body feels good,” Woods said Thursday. “We still have some work to do tonight.”

All in all, Thursday was a good day for Woods, who played just 24 rounds at a PGA Tour event before the Masters. A flu forced him to withdraw in the second round of the Genesis Invitational in mid-February.

Woods had a birdie on No. 1 — his first hole-in-one in the opening round at Augusta National since 1999 — and added one for par on the par-5 eighth hole at 1 foot, six strokes behind leader Bryson DeCambeau, who carded a 7-under 65.

“The wind was everywhere,” Woods said. “It was one of the trickiest days I've ever been a part of. It was tough to get through. [bead] It wasn't just the direction it was going, the intensity, and it was changing all over the place, and then time affected the putting on the greens. It was a very difficult day.”

Woods had plenty of distance off the tee with six tee shots of 300 yards or more, including a 334-yard drive on the par-4 third hole.

After his opening birdie, Woods pulled his tee shot into the trees on the left side of the No. 2 fairway. His ball settled at the base of a tree with low branches. The only thing Woods could do was pitch his second shot left-handed — and he punched his ball 60 yards down the fairway. Woods' third shot missed the green, but he managed to chip to about five feet. He made the putt to save par.

See also  CDC says cardiac arrest and covid vaccines not linked in young adults

Woods carded his only bogey on the par-3 fourth hole. He hit his tee shot over the green. He needed two putts from there to get back to par.

Woods' second birdie on the par-5 eighth came after he hit a 324-yard drive over a fairway bunker to the right. 242 yards to the back, he hit a 3-iron 41 feet. He missed the long eagle putt and made birdie to get back to 1 under.

Considering how little competitive golf Woods has played in the past three years since being seriously injured in a car accident outside Los Angeles in February 2021, his work around the greens has been impressive.

Some of Woods' best work came on the 11th, 12th and 13th holes, one of golf's most famous stretches known as Amen Corner. At the par-4, 520-yard 11th, Woods' approach shot was 26 yards short of the hole. He chipped on one leg and tapped the putt for par.

With the wind swirling on the par-3 12th, Woods hit his tee shot long and his ball landed 19 yards above the hole in the pine straw. He chipped his ball onto the green and it landed 6 feet from the cup. He made the putt to save par.

On the par-5 13th, Woods hit his drive with a sweeping dogleg into the trees on the right side of the left hole. He was forced to execute a tricky punch shot out of the trees. He hit his third shot 22 feet and made two pars.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *