In his first ever round at the Valspar Championship, Tiger Woods shot a 1-under 70 and sits just three strokes behind leader Corey Conners after 18 holes. It was a wild, up-and-down day for Woods, who made just nine pars en route to his 70.
There were near hole-outs, near aces and a near snapped wrist on a tree for Woods. It wasn’t the smoothest ride, but in his fourth tournament of 2018, he’s certainly in contention after the first 18 holes.
“I’m still working on it, and I’m getting a little bit better, piece by piece,” Woods told Golf Channel after his round. “Today was a very good test with all the things I’m trying to implement. I really controlled the ball well for most of the day. Oh yeah, (my juices) are flowing. I’m revved up. I love competing. I love mixing it up with these guys.”
How to watch:
Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream:
Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream:
Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-3PMET; live stream:
NBC, 3-6PM ET; live stream:
Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-3PMET; live stream:
NBC, 3-6PM ET; live stream:
1. His two best shots: Gary Koch said on the broadcast that this course suits Woods well, and I agree with him. I don’t pretend to be a course architecture expert, but it seems like Woods thrives right now when driver is taken out of his hands and he has to hit flush iron shots. He didn’t always do that in Round 1, but when he did, they were mesmerizing. There were two in particular that stood out over the first 18 holes. The first came at the par-4 7th hole, where he would actually go on to miss the birdie putt.
The Florida swing gets back underway after a one-week WGC detour to Mexcio. Here are the key stats and information for the Vaslpar Championship.
Purse: $6.5 million ($1,170,000 to the winner)
Course: Copperhead, Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club, Palm Harbor, Florida (par-71; 7,340 yards)
Defending champion: Adam Hadwin (-14) by one shot over Patrick Cantlay.
Woods is making his first career start at the Valspar Championship, adding the event to a stretch that will see play four times in five weeks, a short-term schedule he has not kept since the 2013 FedExCup Playoffs.
In his last start, a T-12 finish at the Honda, Woods played PGA National’s infamous Bear Trap (Nos. 15-17) 8 over par for the week. He played the rest of the golf course 8 under and led the field in proximity to the hole.
Woods has more wins in Florida (16) than he does in any other state.
Won this event in a three-way playoff in 2015, besting Sean O’Hair and Ryder Cup buddy Patrick Reed.
• Spieth is averaging four birdies/eagle per round at Copperhead, the most of anyone in the last five years.
• Spieth currently ranks 163rd on the PGA Tour in strokes gained-putting and 181st in putting inside 5 feet.
Like Woods, McIlroy is making his first career start at the Valspar.
• Although 40 under par in two starts on the European Tour this year with a pair of top-3 finishes, McIlroy is a combined 5 over in three starts on the PGA Tour.
• McIlroy is still seeking his first worldwide win since leaving East Lake in 2016 with the Tour Championship and the FedExCup.