Sports

Tiger Woods putters nine shots behind leaders Justin Thomas and Adam Scott in Genesis Open

PACIFIC PALISADES, CA - FEBRUARY 15, 2019: Tiger Woods reacts after missing a birdie putt the 17th g
Tiger Woods reacts after missing a birdie putt on the 17th green during the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club on February 15, 2019.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

In his first 18 holes Friday, Tiger Woods hit iron shots like the Tiger Woods of 2000 but couldn’t hole a putt.

In his 12 holes of the second round before darkness stopped play, he finally made some putts but his iron play seemed to get washed away by the intermittent showers that doused the course in the afternoon.

That added to an erratic day for the host of the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club and left him at a precarious one-under par, nine shots behind leaders Justin Thomas and Adam Scott and right on the projected cut line.

Woods, trying to win this tournament for the first time in 13th tries, shot a one-under par 70 in his opening round, and then was even after 12 holes in the second when play was suspended at 5:26 p.m. He made four bogeys in his last six holes after hitting only six of 12 greens in regulation.

“It wasn’t raining that hard, but it was just spitting enough where it was annoying,” Woods said of play in the afternoon. “And the temperature kept dropping, wind kept picking up. ... There’s some long holes out there.”

Rain washed out much of Thursday’s first round and Friday started with benign weather before the afternoon turned wet, cold and windy. Rain, heavy at times, made playing uncomfortable, but it continued.

Thomas, playing with Woods, overcame a double-bogey six on the 12th hole of his first round with seven birdies to shoot a five-under 66, and shaved five more strokes off par in the 12 holes he played in the second round.

“I just managed my emotions really well today and tried not to let the weather get to me,” Thomas said.

Scott, whose 13 victories since turning pro in 2000 don’t include the rain-shortened unofficial win he earned at Riviera in 2005, shot a bogey-free 66 in his first round. He played 11 holes of his second round.

J.B. Holmes is a shot behind at nine under, his opening-round 63 highlighted by a hole in one on the sixth hole. As with many of the players in this field, the bunker in the middle of the green proved to be not one bit distracting, his 8-iron from 147 yards landing about 20 feet past the pin and spinning back into the cup.

“Yeah, it was awesome to see that,” he said.

He picked up one more stroke to par in the nine holes he was able to play of the second round.

Luke List and Jordan Spieth are tied for fourth at seven under.

Spieth is among the 72 players who completed their first rounds early Friday and will return Saturday morning to play their second rounds, after which the cut will be made. The third round will begin in the afternoon.

Twenty-two players are at least four-under par.

Woods, who never got on the course Thursday because of the rain delay, started his first round unevenly Friday. On No. 1, the 506-yard par five everyone in the field considers a must birdie, Woods hit his second shot from the fairway into a bunker, hit his 13-foot birdie putt only about 10 feet and settled for par.

The third hole was an unfortunate harbinger for a player with an unrequited love for this Pacific Palisades layout. He hit his approach shot 63 feet from the hole and three-putted.

On the seventh hole, he three-putted again, this time from only 17 feet.

Then it appeared the Tiger that fans had lined every fairway to see was back. He put together birdies on Nos. 8, 9, 10 and 11 to get to two-under par before leaving himself 66 feet from the hole on No. 12. That produced another three putt, and when he three-putted from 20 feet on No. 17 for a bogey six, he finished his opening round at one under.

“I hit it well and putted awful,” he said after hitting 17 of 18 greens in regulation and heading back out for his second round.

“Four three-putts is ridiculous.”

After the first round, Woods was 134th out of 144 players in strokes gained putting.

Using an analogy befitting the waterlogged weather that has afflicted the event so far, he said, “I hit just a boatload of bad putts.”