PGA Tour

English leads, Tiger struggles

2014-03-07 07:16
Harris English (AFP)

Miami - Harris English grabbed the clubhouse lead while world number one Tiger Woods struggled on Thursday until darkness halted the first round of the storm-hit $9 million World Golf Championships Cadillac Championship.

English fired a three-under par 69 and was among only six players to complete 18 holes at Doral's revamp Blue Monster course, where a severe storm stopped play in the afternoon.

Four others - Italy's Francesco Molinari and Americans Jason Dufner, Hunter Mahan and Patrick Reed - were still on the course at three-under when darkness fell. Dufner had two holes to finish while Molinari had three, Mahan had four and Reed had seven remaining.

"I really started hitting my driver well. That first nine was really tough. The wind got going," English said. "I kind of got rolling early on the second side."

Woods, who withdrew in the final round from last week's PGA Tour Honda Classic with back spasms, shared 47th on two-over par when play was halted, having just made a bogey at the par-5 10th by missing an eight foot par putt.

Woods, who made eight pars and a bogey at the par-3 fourth on the front nine, showed no sign of pain but faces 26 holes on Friday.

"Should be a long day for all of us," Woods said. "Hopefully (Friday) I can get back out there in the morning, play well and work back to even par by the end of the first round, then shoot a low one in the afternoon."

English, a 24-year-old American, won his first US PGA title last year at Memphis and took his second win last November at Mayakoba in one of the first events of this season under the US tour's new scheduling format.

English, who began on the back nine, birdied the par-5 12th then took bogeys at 16 and 18. But he responded with back-to-back birdies at one and two, followed with another at the fifth and closed with a 46-foot birdie putt at the ninth.

Reigning Masters champion Adam Scott, who can overtake Woods for the top ranking spot with a win this week, was two-under after 10 holes thanks to birdies at the par-5 eighth and par-3 ninth.

Among those with Scott in a share of sixth were South Africans Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen and Americans Zach Johnson, Russell Henley, Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson.

Rory McIlroy was enduring a roller coaster day that saw him with five birdies and four bogeys to stand one-under with four holes remaining.

McIlroy opened with a birdie at the 10th and birdied 12 and 13 as well, then answered a bogey at 14 with a birdie at 15.

But he closed his first nine with back-to-back bogeys before responding with a birdie at the first, although he gave back another shot at the par-3 fourth to stand in a share of 13th.

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