White Sulphur Springs - Tiger Woods found his groove at the Greenbrier
Classic on Thursday, bouncing back from his disastrous US Open with a
four-under-par 66 that left him four shots behind first-round leader Scott
Langley had eight birdies with no bogeys in his career-best eight-under-par
He hit 12 of 14 fairways and 17 of 18 greens in regulation as he matched the
Greenbrier's best opening round as well as the lowest first-round score on the
PGA Tour this season.
But it was Woods' solid first-round effort that grabbed the headlines, as
the 14-time major champion improved on his best first-18 effort of his 2015
campaign by a whopping seven strokes.
Woods posted his first round in the 60s since the Masters, where rounds of
69 and 68 in the second and third rounds helped him finish tied for 17th.
That performance at Augusta National in April has been the brightest spot of
Woods's season to date and he arrived at the Old White TPC off a missed cut at
the US Open at Chambers Bay, where his rounds of 80 and 76 added up to the
worst 36-hole performance of his career.
"Even though my scores don't indicate it, my swings don't indicate it
... my feels were telling me that I wasn't that far off," said Woods, the
former world number one who has slumped to 220th in the world.
"It was just a matter of just getting into a little bit of the rhythm
and flow of it, and I found that."
Woods, playing his only tune-up for the British Open at St. Andrews in a
fortnight, teed off on 10 and got to three-under with birdies at 12, 15 and 16
before giving a stroke back at the par-five 17th.
After a birdie at the par-four second, Woods dropped two shots at the
par-four sixth, where he was in the rough off the tee and in a greenside bunker
with his approach shot.
But he held on with three straight birdies to cap his round.
"Wasn't good, making a double there," Woods said, adding that he
told caddie Joey LaCava "We're just playing too well to be at one-under
He was hoping to get back to three-under for the round "And we happened
to pull off a hat-trick coming home," said Woods, who stuck his approach
within four feet for birdie at the seventh then rolled in putts of 18 and 19
feet at the last two holes.
Langley, seeking his first PGA Tour title, had a one-shot lead over New
Zealand's Danny Lee and fellow American Jonathan Byrd.
Both Lee and Byrd had seven birdies without a bogey to reach seven-under 63.
It was a further stroke back to England's Brian Davis and Japan's Ryo
Ishikawa on 64, while half a dozen players shared sixth on 65.
Leading first-round scores on Thursday in the US PGA Tour $6.7 million Greenbrier Classic (USA unless noted, par-70):
62 - Scott Langley
63 - Jonathan Byrd, Danny Lee (NZL)
64 - Brian Davis (ENG), Ryo Ishikawa (JPN)
65 - Greg Owen (ENG), Andrew Svoboda, Brendon Todd, Chad Collins, Kevin Na, Kevin Chappell
- Jhonattan Vegas (VEN), Justin Leonard, Paul Casey (ENG), Tiger Woods,
Chad Campbell, Sean O'Hair, Tyrone Van Aswegen (RSA), Byron Smith,
Chris Stroud, John Huh, James Hahn, Jonas Blixt (SWE), Bill Haas, Robert
Garrigus, Roger Sloan (CAN)