TIGER WOODS WAS finding birdies hard to come by Thursday as he launched his return to the US PGA Tour at the Farmers Insurance Open, where he was one-over-par through nine holes.
The 42-year-old superstar is playing his first Tour event since missing the cut at Torrey Pines last year — part of an abortive comeback bid after a 2016 spent on the sidelines.
Morning clouds had given way to bright sunshine when Woods teed off on the first hole of Torrey Pines South Course, scene of his 14th and most recent major victory at the US Open in 2008.
Woods warmed up for his return to the PGA Tour with a promising ninth-placed finish in the 18-man Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.
But Torrey Pines figured to be a much tougher test of his stamina as well as his skills after back fusion surgery in April.
Woods, an eight-time winner at Torrey Pines, was in the far left rough off the tee. From there he found the right greenside bunker, and was unable to get his 12-foot par putt to drop.
Woods narrowly missed a 28-foot birdie attempt at the par-three third hole, and he dropped another shot at the par-four fifth, where he was in a left fairway bunker off the tee and blasted out to a greenside bunker. He couldn’t get his 12-foot putt to save par to drop.
Woods pulled a shot back with a birdie at the par-five sixth, where his 50-foot eagle putt stopped inches short.
Another solid drive at the seventh was followed by an approach into a greenside bunker en route to a par, and Woods gave a frustrated swipe of his club after finding the rough off the tee at the par-three eighth.
Woods was unable to take advantage of the par-five ninth and made the turn one-over, six shots behind early pace-setter Ted Potter Jr who was five-under through 11 holes.
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