Woods in contention after one round of Valspar

by Gary Shelton on March 9, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Golf

Woods overcame his injuries, scandals, to contend./CARMEN MANDATO

Woods overcame his injuries, scandals, to contend./CARMEN MANDATO

Thursday, 3 a.m.

After one round of the Valspar Championship, Tiger Woods is close enough to dream.

Woods, playing in Tampa for the first time in 22 years, shot a one-under par 70 Thursday. Technically, that put him in a tie for eighth after 18 holes, but it's close enough that he has a chance.

Some of Woods' tougher competition struggled. Rory McRoy is four shots behind Woods at 74, and Jordan Speith is six behind him. Sergio Garcia is tied with Woods with a 70.

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Can the rest of the field hold off Tiger?/CARMEN MANDATO

Can the rest of the field hold off Tiger?/CARMEN MANDATO

Canadian Corey Conners leads the tournament after a round of 67. Whee Kim, Kelly Kraft and Nick Whatney all had 68s.

"I enjoy when par is a good score, it's a reward," Woods said. "There are some tournaments when about four holes you don't make a birdie you feel like you're behind. Today, you know, made a couple birdies, all of a sudden that puts me 4th, 5th, right away. That's how hard it is. It's the reward to go out there and make a couple birdies here and there and I like that type of challenge.

"This was the hardest of all the tests because the wind was all over the place. You just couldn't -- I'm -- we, me, Joey and I really had a hard time today figuring out what to hit and lot of the time many of them, what the trajectory is, am I going to hit it above the tree or around tree height? Those are all different distances the ball travels. Couple times I got it just above the trees and it got smoked."

Overall, Woods was happy with his play.

"I think I feel like I'm pleased with every aspect of my game," Woods said. "I drove it well, I hit a lot of good iron shots today and I had some good speed on the putts. Greens are a little bit grainy and I hit a lot of good ones. Spanked a couple here and there. I thought I really did well today, overall.

"This is a tough golf course. Not too often in Florida you find elevation but there is some. Great driving golf course. Got the rough up a little bit, even though a little sparse here and there but still up."

Conners qualified for the tournament only on Monday afternoon, but finds himself leading.

"That's the ultimate goal," Conners said. "There's still a lot of golf to be played. Yeah, wasn't -- didn't get too excited out there, try to stay level-headed and keep doing what I was doing. Hopefully I can go and do more of the same tomorrow.

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