LA JOLLA, California, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Tiger Woods provided a few highlights but continued to struggle with his game and possibly his back midway through his opening round in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines on Thursday.
Starting off on the back nine of the North course, Woods was one over par through nine, posting a lone birdie to go with two bogeys, leaving him five shots behind the early leaders.
Last week’s winner Brooks Koepka and fellow American Nicholas Thompson led the way at four-under through nine holes of the North course, one clear of eight players at three-under.
Less than a week removed from shooting a career worst 82 in Phoenix and forced to sit around and wait out a lengthy fog delay prior to starting his round, Woods began poorly and was favoring his back early in the round.
The 14-times major winner fanned his approach on the 10th, his first hole, to the right and then bladed a chip past the hole before two-putting for bogey.
Things looked dire on the 11th when he sent his tee shot way right and was forced to lay up before hitting his wedge shot long and into rough. But in contrast to his recent severe chipping woes Woods chipped in for a miraculous par.
Another approach way right followed for another bogey on the 12th and despite continually battling a swing that sent almost everything right, the American saved pars on his next three holes despite reaching for his back after one wayward drive.
After missing the fairway to the left for the first time on the 16th hole, the 39-year-old Woods wedged to six-feet and rolled in the birdie to claw back to one-over.
A routine two-putt par on 17 came before another fanned tee ball to the right on the par-five 18th made life difficult.
While Woods found the green in two he was forced to deal with a tricky ridge and lengthy putt, ultimately three-putting for par. (Editing by Larry Fine)