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Tiger Woods has a tough round with the irons, shoots 4-over at the US Open

Tiger Woods has a tough round with the irons, shoots 4-over at the US Open
Tiger Woods has a tough round with the irons, shoots 4-over at the US Open


Mark Schlabach, ESPN Senior Writer June 13, 2024, 2:44 p.m. ET

CloseSenior college football writer Author of seven college football books Graduate of the University of Georgia

PINEHURST, N.C. – Tiger Woods picked the wrong course and had a bad round with his irons.

The 15-time major champion hit 12 of 14 fairways in the first round of the 124th U.S. Open at No. 2 Pinehurst on Thursday. But Woods' irons weren't suited to a course that demands precision because of its complex greens and dramatic flows, and he missed 9 of 18 greens en route to a 4-over 74.

“I didn’t hit my irons particularly well,” Woods said. “I didn't make a putt that great. I drove it over the rope all day. Unfortunately, I just didn't take advantage of it.”

Woods, a three-time US Open champion, was tied for 54th when he left the course, 9 shots behind leader Patrick Cantlay, who opened with a 5-under 65.

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“I've been somewhat conservative on some of my final points,” Woods said. “Then again, I didn't hit the ball very well either. That was some distance from the flag. That's not where I wanted to be on a lot of holes. It ended up being that far .because I wasn't as sharp as I should be.”

Woods gave his fans a promising start when he made a 12-foot birdie at No. 10, his first hole of the round, to move to 1 under. At the par-4 12th, he made a 10-footer to save par, followed by an 8-footer at the 13th to stay at 1 under.

Things fell apart once he reached the par-4 16th. Woods missed the fairway for the first time from the tee, then had to exit short of the green. He narrowly missed a 20-footer and made bogey at par.

At the par-3 17th, Woods three-putted from 47 feet for bogey. After making the turn at 1, Woods three-putted from 38 feet on No. 1. After another bogey at the second and a par at the third, Woods made a spectacular chip out of a greenside bunker but missed a 4-footer for par for bogey on No. 4.

Woods had a lead of 5 from #16 to #4. He bounced back to make a birdie on the par-5 fifth, narrowly missing a 30-footer for eagle.

“This golf course is all about the greens,” Woods said. “The complexes are so difficult and so serious that, I mean, I think 1 under par is only fifth. [place]. There aren't many low scores.

“It's hard to get the ball close. Most golf courses you play, you hit shots where it's heading toward the flags, all the while collecting it. Everything here is off-putting. It's just hard to place the ball above the shelves.

Woods, 48, has not broken par in a round at a major since shooting a 6-under 69 in the second round of the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills Golf & Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His 11 consecutive rounds in major tournaments without breaking par constitute the longest streak of his career, according to data from ESPN Stats & Information.

Woods has work to do Friday if he wants to avoid missing the cut for a second consecutive major tournament. He knows it won't be easy, given the conditions at Pinehurst No. 2.

“It can go so far the other way, the wrong way,” Woods said. “It's so hard to come back. It's a golf course that doesn't give up a lot of birdies. It gives up a lot of bogeys and more. I thought I did the only thing I needed to do today, which It’s driving the ball well I did it – I just didn’t take advantage of it.”




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