Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Tiger Woods lasts through rain-shortened round at Doral

DORAL — Tiger Woods only made it through 10 holes — this time because of the weather, not his back.

The new Blue Monster's debut, and Woods' return, were incomplete Thursday when the opening round of the Cadillac Champion­ship was suspended because of thunderstorms.

Just six players finished the round, led by Harris English at 3-under 69.

Woods' abbreviated day ended after 10 holes as rain interrupted play for nearly 2½ hours and forced the first round of the World Golf Championships event into today because of darkness.

"Warmup was good, and I felt good all day, even through the delay," Woods said. "I'm ready to go back out (today) and play well."

Woods, who walked off after 13 holes in the Honda Classic on Sunday because of lower-back pain and spasms, was 2 over, ending with a wedge that came up 20 yards short, leading to a three-putt bogey from about 55 feet. Going back to the third round of the Honda, he has one birdie in his past 26 holes.

In 39 completed rounds so far for Woods at Doral, he has shot over-par only three times. That includes 73 in the final round in 2007 when he won the CA Champion­ship.

Masters champion Adam Scott, in the same group as Woods and 2 under after 10 holes, has a chance to replace Woods at No. 1 in the world if he wins this event and Woods finishes worse than fifth.

The overhauled Trump National Doral course showed plenty of bite on a windy, cloudy afternoon as the average was 73.8. Jason Dufner, who was 3 under after 16 holes, evaluated the tougher course.

"This used to be a golf course where you grab your driver on every hole, swing for the fences and play from there," Dufner said. "You can't get away with that here at Doral anymore."

Russell Henley, coming off a playoff win last week, made only one par in six holes on the back nine, finishing 2 under after 15 holes.

Rory McIlroy had four birdies in five holes, only to end the back nine with consecutive bogeys with a long three-putt bogey and a tee shot on the 18th that caught the edge of the water and bounded into the hazard.

The leader English also struggled. His tee shot on the 18th found the water, and he still had 4-iron to get to the green. But he bounced back on the par-5 first hole with a two-putt birdie, and he was bogey-free the rest of the way.

Jason Day withdrew before the round began with an injury to his left thumb, which he said was hurting when he won the Match Play Championship two weeks ago. Day was slated to play with Phil Mickelson and McIlroy on Thursday and today. Now those two will play as a twosome. McIlroy is 1 over, and Mickelson is even after 14 holes.

PGA: Brian Stuard birdied seven his first 12 holes for the first-round lead in the Puerto Rico Open at Rio Grande. Stuard finished at 6-under 66, and Jason Gore and Danny Lee shot 67. John Daly had triple-bogey 7 on the 12th hole to finish with 74.