Simpson, Noren share lead in Florida, Woods shoots even par

Simpson, Noren share lead in Florida, Woods shoots even par”

Sizes up a birdie putt of 13 feet, nine inches, settles himself over the ball and tugs it just slightly, settling for a par to remain at even par with one hole remaining. Wind whipped around the infamously testing site, where the greens are in strangely poor condition.

PGA National normally ranks statistically among the toughest venues on the PGA Tour, and his missed cut last week in California has raised questions as to the 14-time Major champion's prospects here.

Adam Scott says he's unsure if Tiger Woods can compete at the major championship level until he can he manage blocs of consecutive US PGA Tour events.

"I'm very pleased", Woods said. Not a problem. The carts were moved, leaving him a good angle into the green and he got a par. "The people have to realize that, yeah, we're trying to make sure they have a good time, but if they are making it harder for us to create good golf, it's tougher for them to enjoy it, too". It was very positive today.

Justin Thomas, playing ahead of Woods, shot a three-under 67 to finish his day one stroke behind clubhouse leader Alex Noren.

Tiger, opening his round on the back nine, made two solid birdies in his first four holes to get into red numbers. He knew his leaderboard position all right.

And that's just unfortunately part of it, " Woods said Wednesday after the pro-am.

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"I've started to get that feeling again of playing tournament golf, where each and every shot counts", said Woods, who missed the cut last week.

For Woods, there was certainly plenty of promise on this day. He had just 165 yards left to the green, again from fairway, on this par five but tugged his approach into sand.

But an untimely double-bogey on the par-five third - Woods' 12th - undid some of that fine work and, in gusty conditions akin to those seen on the links courses of Great Britain, the 42-year-old birdied the next and made par on his last five to post a reasonable score.

The Woods response was admirable and perhaps unexpected. The World No. 7 has made six straight cuts at PGA National, a streak that includes three Top-10's and a dominant four-stroke win previous year.

Woods was more accurate off the tee, hitting 50 per cent of the fairways. The key test, of course, will arrive on Friday afternoon as he bids to maintain this early promise to the point where he survives for the weekend. That part, I'm going to have to learn. "It's something I've looked forward to as a kid".

There may be few more popular winners this week than Morgan Hoffman. Hoffmann announced in December that he suffers from muscular dystrophy. "It has been tough to deal with because health is the most important thing in my life". And can he be the guy he was 10 years ago, just like me?

"He would have been better in his heyday if he had more good players around him to push him", Harrington said.

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