Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Cink, Perez roll at Torrey Pines as Tiger scuffles

SAN DIEGO — The best score belonged to Stewart Cink. The best round belonged to Pat Perez. Tiger Woods didn't come close to claiming either Thursday in the Farmers Insurance Open, where the seven-time champion failed to break par in the opening round for first time in his career.

Cink had three straight birdies late in his round on the easier North Course at Torrey Pines for 8-under 64, giving him a one-shot lead over Gary Woodland, who also was on the North, which is more than 600 yards shorter.

Perez was on the South Course, host of the 2008 U.S. Open and with greens so firm this year that it felt like a major. Perez shot 67, the best score on the South by two shots, and even more astounding was he played bogey-free.

The South played nearly four shots harder than the North.

Woods, making his 2014 debut, failed to birdie any of the par 5s and had to settle for 72. "Even par is not too bad, but I didn't play the par 5s worth a darn," he said. "Obviously, that's (tantamount) to try to get any kind of scoring on the South Course."

Even eight back, Woods wasn't worried about a chance to win. The courses are so different that it's difficult to gauge where anyone stands until everyone has had a crack at both courses. The weekend rounds are on the South.

"You want to really take advantage of the North Course because it will yield to you a little bit, and the South will not," Cink said.

Phil Mickelson had to cope with his back locking up, unusual because he doesn't have a history of back pain. It got so bad at one point he said he thought about withdrawing from his hometown event. But he scratched out 69.

Perez, who grew up in San Diego and worked in high school washing carts and driving the ball picker on the range at Torrey Pines, has such a history here that his father, Tony, continues to announce the players on the first tee at the South Course. Need more history? Perez won a Junior World Championship at Torrey Pines, beating some Orange County kid named Tiger Woods.

"Best day of my life," Perez said. "He's always been great to me. He gives me advice here and there, but to beat him that year was fantastic. … I've got to hold onto that, so that's about all that I got over him. But it hurts him."

LPGA: Lydia Ko took a share of the lead in her first start as a tour member, matching Meena Lee at 5-under 68 in the season-opening Bahamas Classic in Paradise Island. Ko, 16, turned pro late last year. Ranked No. 4 in the world, the South Korean-born New Zealander had six birdies and a bogey. Lee of South Korea eagled the par-4 13th and had four birdies and a bogey. Stacy Lewis was a stroke back at 69 along with eight others. Seminole's Brittany Lincicome and Tampa's Cindy LaCrosse opened with 70, while Tampa resident Kristy McPherson shot 73.

PGA Europe: Spain's Rafa Cabrera-Bello shot 7-under 65 for a two-shot lead at 13-under 131 after the second round of the Qatar Masters in Doha. First-round leader George Coetzee (69) fell to second.