AFP San Diego, CA, United States
Jan 29, 2018, 01.17 AM
Tiger Woods capped an encouraging return to US PGA Tour action with an even-par 72 on Sunday at the Farmers Insurance Open.
The former world number one was tied for 27th when he walked off his final green, the par-five ninth, on a Torrey Pines South Course where Woods's eight victories include his 14th and most recent major title at the 2008 US Open.
"Today I played a lot better," said Woods, who had four birdies and four bogeys in a round that gave him a three-under-par total of 285.
"It was tough conditions out there," he added of the gusting winds. "It was tough scoring."
Woods was playing his first US tour event since missing the cut at Torrey Pines last year.
He had missed all of 2016 with back trouble, and his comeback bid last year was cut short by recurring pain and spinal fusion surgery in April.
Woods hit just 17 of 56 greens all week, but he displayed a deft touch around the greens and solid putting to bring it in under par.
Most importantly, there was no sign of any back trouble as he looks ahead to his next scheduled start at Riviera in Los Angeles February 15-18.
Solid four days
"Very pleased," said Woods, who hadn't made the cut in a PGA Tour event since his tie for 10th at the Wyndham Championship in August of 2015.
"After not playing for a couple of years to come out here on the Tour and really play a solid four days -- I fought hard for these scores."
Woods said before the tournament that his expectations were "tempered."
But after rounds of 72-71-70, he said he went out Sunday -- clad in his traditional final-round red and black -- with an ambitious number in mind.
"I wanted to shoot something around 65 -- thought that would be a playoff number," Woods said.
For the first time all week, Woods put his opening tee shot in the fairway en route to a par at the 10th.
Although he again hit just three of 14 fairways, Woods's misses weren't as wild as those of Friday and Saturday.
A birdie chance at 13 went begging when an over-eager fan in the immense gallery following Woods yelled as he stroked his 10-footer.
But Woods, clearly angry, shook it off to roll in a 12-footer for birdie at 14.
That launched a sequence of birdie-bogey-birdie-bogey-birdie, with Woods rolling in a five-footer at the 18th.
He reached five-under for the tournament -- and broke into the top 20 on the leaderboard -- with a birdie at the second before two bogeys coming home.
"I'm excited to get this one under my belt," said Woods, adding that until his next start he'll be working on "everything."
As Woods wrapped up his round, Sweden's Alex Noren was clinging to the lead on 12-under par through 11 holes, with former world number one Jason Day, Ryan Palmer and J.B. Holmes all at 11-under on the back nine.