Kuchar shoots 64 to lead Riviera; Tiger wastes strong start

  • Kuchar shoots 64 to lead Riviera; Tiger wastes strong start

Kuchar shoots 64 to lead Riviera; Tiger wastes strong start

For Tiger Woods, golf became a game of inches.

Shot Tracker data putt the putt at 24 feet 8 inches - the numbers nearly eerily invoking the memory of Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash on January 26.

Later, he birdied the eighth hole, one marked with a purple-and-gold flag.

"It's ironic, isn't it?"

Tiger Woods began the Genesis Invitational with two ideal shots, easily reaching Riviera's benign par-5 first hole in two.

"Made a couple loose swings and made a couple good saves on the back nine for par, but just wasn't able to get any birdies on the back nine", Woods said. "I didn't know about the putt being that long".

"No matter what we do, I think we're always going to remember Kobe Bryant and what he meant, especially here in SoCal and the entire sports world". Yeah, it was a slow start, none of us really got it going early on, but then you have 17 and then the first hole in a space of a few holes so you can make some red numbers there, which I was able to do.

As for his swing, Woods wasn't so keenly calibrated.

In hindsight, the front-nine ball striking display was particularly impressive given Woods' lack of preparation for the week. The American requires at least a top-seven placing to earn his crown back at the first time of asking and his 69 was far less erratic than McIlroy's opening salvo, featuring three birdies and one bogey. So Woods pieced together a move on the driving range this morning, but you wouldn't have known it judging from the front nine. He's the tournament host, so his foundation is the primary beneficiary of the event.

Eerie eagle: Tiger Woods makes unknowing tribute to Lakers legend Kobe Bryant

"I haven't had a whole lot of time to practice this week".

"Just didn't hit many good shots on the back nine", said Woods, who carded a two-under 69. "I only did it for the front nine". He's off in his second round at 7:16 a.m. local time, when the wind should be manageable and the poa annua greens as smooth as they'll be all day.

Woods, who matched Snead with a victory in the Zozo Championship in Japan in October and finished tied for ninth at Torrey Pines in his only start since, was looking forward to teeing off early in his bid to climb the leaderboard on Friday.

Patrick Cantlay and Patrick Reed were among those at 68. I've been a little busy.

He had to scramble his way along the back until blasting a 3-wood to about 30 feet on the par-5 17th and making eagle, and then adding an eagle on par-5 opening hole. "And then No. 8, happened to hit one in there close and had a nice little kick-in there for birdie".

A drive to the right on No. 11 hit a eucalyptus tree and ricocheted to the left side of the fairway. He's pleased with that.

"To shoot a number like this, you kind of do most things well", Kuchar said. "I've been getting up pretty early, so it will be a quick turnaround, get back at it".

"Eighteen was a little bit more doable, basically a straight uphill putt", he said of his first birdie bomb. "I played my second nine a lot better than I played my first nine so I feel good".

Still, a 31-38 is only half bad.