Tiger Woods didn’t join the US Open birdie bonanza on Thursday, his “typical Pebble Beach” round of one-under par 70 putting him five off the pace of England’s Justin Rose.
“It’s typical Pebble Beach, where the first seven holes you can get it going and then after that you’re kind of fighting and hanging on,” said Woods, who won the first of his three US Open titles at the scenic California course by 15 strokes – still a major championship record.
“I had it going early and had to fight off through the middle part of the round and hung in there with pars,” added the 43-year-old superstar, who parred his last 11 holes.
After a birdie at the fourth was followed by a double-bogey from dense rough at the par-three fifth, Woods birdied the sixth and seventh only to find himself scrambling the rest of the way.
“I didn’t hit my irons as crisp as I’d like,” Woods said, who hit just eight of 18 greens in regulation.
“I tried to miss the ball in the correct spots, and a couple of times where I had wedges in my hand I was just dumping, centre of the green, move on, get my 30-, 40-footer and move on about my business and take my medicine when I was in a bad spot.”
Woods, who claimed his 15th major title at the Masters in April, said most of his misses were in the correct spot to limit damage, just as most of his 25 putts were uphill – key to success on the sometimes bumpy poa annua greens at Pebble Beach.
At five, after a “terrible tee shot” with a six-iron that he wasn’t convinced was the right club, he ended up with a third shot that he left above the hole.
“A simple little pitch shot, if I leave it 10 feet below the hole, easy shot, move on with the bogey,” he said.
Coming in, Woods said, his only mistake was trying to carry his shot from the bunker to the flag.
“I clipped it and dumped my ball in the centre of the green and tried to make my bogey – but happened to make a putt,” said Woods, who salvaged par with a 30-footer.
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