Tiger roars back after horror start to share Japan lead
Inzai (Japan): Tiger Woods got off to a horrific start before roaring back with nine birdies in 15 holes to share the inaugural Zozo Championship lead in Japan Thursday as Rory McIlroy struggled.
After slumping to three-over par after three holes, Woods recovered in stunning fashion to finish with a back-nine of 29 and a six-under round of 64 alongside US Open champion Gary Woodland. "I certainly was not expecting to shoot six-under par after that start," admitted Woods.
"It was ugly early and it was nice to be able to flip it and really get it going.
"Now I'm in a position where we're going to have a long, long weekend of a lot of golf that hopefully I can keep it going." The American pair head into Friday with a one-shot lead over home hero Hideki Matsuyama, after Woods endured a roller coaster round at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Inzai City. McIlroy had a day where he couldn't find his usual range with his irons and his putter was cold in a two-over 72 featuring a double bogey six at the 12th. It was Woods' lowest season-opening round in his long career and came as the 43-year-old chases an 82nd US PGA Tour victory to tie the all-time record held by Sam Snead.
That had not seemed remotely possible early on as Woods exhibited signs of rust from a two-month layoff for arthroscopic left knee surgery.
Starting his round on the 10th tee, the 15-time major winner dropped three shots in as many holes with three consecutive bogeys. He steadied himself with a par at the 13th before turning his round completely on its head with three birdies in a row to get back to level par.