Simpson, Noren share lead in Florida, McDowell in touch

Paola Ditto
Febbraio 25, 2018

A shot back sits world No.4 Justin Thomas and he's joined in a share of third by Morgan Hoffmann, Daniel Berger, Mackenzie Hughes and former British Open victor Louis Oosthuizen (67).

"I'm very pleased", Woods said.

The former Masters victor likened the brutal par 3s to holes at a major championship, where a flawless shot is the only option.

The 14-time Major victor shot an even-par opening-round score of 70 at the PGA National to put himself in a solid position ahead of the weekend, and described playing the 18 holes as "like playing a British Open".

His only bogey came on his ninth hole, the par-five 18th.

Woods teed off on the 10th and had two birdies and a bogey in his first nine holes.

Padraig Harrington and Seamus Power appear to already have a battle to make the cut on their hands as they hit rounds of 76 and 77 to leave them on +6 and +7 respectively. "One, the wind was blowing pretty hard, the rough's up, and it's really tough to make putts out there".

"It was just my seventh round (of 2018), so easily it was my best ball-striking day", he said.

"I'm off the morning (on day two) so hopefully I can capitalise on some calmer conditions and get back to even par, but I'm going to have to have a good weekend". Mackenzie Hughes of Canada shot his 67 with a bogey from a bunker on No. 9.

This is his third PGA Tour event since returning from a fourth back surgery.

Following a slight delay, Woods found the fringe with his approach shot and two-putted for par.

"I got exposed there on the back nine - three three-putts - and so I've worked a little bit on my putting since I've been home each and every day".

He answered with a birdie and made pars the rest of the way.

"I felt very comfortable today", Woods said. "And also I'm actually doing it under the gun, under the pressure of having to hit golf shots, and this golf course is not forgiving whatsoever".

"It was very positive today".

Woods played with Patton Kizzire, who already has won twice on the PGA Tour season this year.

"I feel a lot more confident in most areas of my game", Thomas said when asked how his game has progressed since missing the cut in his first Honda Classic in 2015.

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