The 14-time major winner looked comfortable and confident throughout his early morning round as he carded a one-under par 69, which left him just off the top of the leaderboard.
Playing partner Phil Mickelson, however, struggled badly, losing a ball in the gnarled Monterey Cypress trees with his opening drive and never really settling into his game after that as he limped along to a six-over 76. The final member of what was the day’s glamour grouping, Masters champion Bubba Watson, fared even worse as he sprayed the ball off the tee en route to a horrendous 78. “I had a good game plan going in and I executed all the way through and ended up with a score under par. Which was nice,” the 36-year-old, former world No 1 said. “I felt very pleased with every facet of my game and I stayed very patient out there.”
Thompson in lead
Leading the way was 27-year-old US qualifier Michael Thompson who came in with a pace-setting, four-under 66. Woods was coming off a win in his last tournament, The Memorial, but has struggled for consistency of late, best illustrated by a tie for 40th in the Masters in April — the worst performance of his professional career in the year’s first Major. Starting from the ninth hole, the 36-year-old former World number one found the first four fairways as he opened with five straight pars.