Woods was paired with Xander Schauffele and Tony Finau for a try at South Course, which played about two more hits than the North Course, in which the trio will be back for the second round on Friday. The light winds opened the door to favorable conditions, and when Woods arrived at normal, he did so with the intention of scoring. This aggressive game paid off for four of his five birdies of the day, which proved necessary given Jon Rahm and others' low scores on the North Course.
In the end, what was encouraging in the Woods round was that he was often in a position to make putts putts that just did not fall flat. There were some misfires with the pilot, but most of the heat – particularly at the beginning – was defined by a powerful tee-to-green action and missed birdie shots.
"I think I could probably shoot something around 68 or 67 today pretty easily," Woods told the television channel after the round. "I've hit a lot of good putts around the hole that just have not fallen into it. But overall, pulling under par on the South Course is not so bad, but now I am forced to draw a weak tomorrow. because of what most of the ground has done there today. "
It was not all Woods' sorrows on the greens, though. He had one of the best putts of the day with this 30-foot 13-by-5 birdie throw.
Woods won shots against the tee field at the green despite the absence of several fairways and some greens in regulation. That's because his swing and ball shot seemed to be totally rhythmic, and his knowledge of the course helped him avoid the worst that the South Course could offer. The round may have started with a very conservative approach, but when he started turning around the turn, Woods aimed at the pin of the 11th normal-3 and provided one of his best shots of the day.
Considering the many ways Woods has managed and struggled since the beginning of 2018, starting the week on a more challenging course with his squared putter should give hope that it's not impossible to chase down the leaders.