Tiger Woods – Getty Images
What a day for golf in Japan today. Not only did Tiger Woods play his first PGA Tour event there for many years but he takes a share of the opening round lead with a brilliant round of 6 under par 64 at the PGA Tour’s Zozo Championship which came after beginning the day with three consecutive bogeys.
Woods drove it in the water at the first, the trees at the second and then three putted to third to be well behind the eight-ball. But he recovered with nine birdies in his next 15 holes to take the lead on his own before being joined by Gary Woodland.
“I’m just trying to turn it to even par at the turn, that’s just basically my goal, and I was able to squeeze one more out of it,” said Woods.
“After the start, the ball striking was better. The putting was really good. I was hitting a lot of good putts and the ball’s rolling tight, which was nice.”
Woods shares the lead with current US Open champion, Woodland, but in another boost for huge crowds that flocked to the Accordia Golf Narashino CC in Chiba near Tokyo, Japan’s golfing superstar Hideki Matsuyama is just one shot off the lead.
Woods is of course under scrutiny over the next couple of weeks to see if his game is up to the possibility of him picking himself for the US Presidents Cup side and whether he does or does not make that decision his form today suggested that he would make a worthy inclusion.
Matsuyama is two shots ahead of a trio tied for 4th and tomorrow the fervor that will prevail amongst the Japanese fans, weather permitting, will be worth the admission price alone.
The issue, however, is a pending storm expected to arrive mid morning on Friday and organisers have brought tee times forward to try and offset some of the potential disruption to the schedule.
The three Australians in the field have made horror starts, Jason Day and Adam Scott tied for 58th at 3 over and Marc Leishman 78th at 6 over.