Tiger Woods Makes Cut At The Players Championship

May 7th, 2010-  By Bryan Cross

A far cry from his disastrous Friday at the Quail Hollow Championship a week ago that saw him miss the cut for only the sixth time as a professional, Tiger Woods rebounded with his lowest opening round score at The Players Championship Thursday.

Despite putting his tee shot in the water on the 18th hole at TPC Sawgrass, Woods carded a 2-under par round of 70, which still however keeps him four strokes back of leaders Robert Allenby and J.B Holmes after rounds of 66 after the first day.

Through 13 years of playing in The Players Championship, Woods has never broken 70 in the opening round.

“Absolutely,” Woods responded to a question asking of the importance of beginning the tournament following his Quail Hollow performance. “This is a big event. This is a huge event.”

“I’ve felt I’ve done some good work this week even though reports are I was hitting all over the lot. But I was working on a few things. I was very comfortable with what I was working towards, and I was very excited about what was happening. It was just a matter of doing it in competition, and I did it today.”

It was a large contrast to his performance a week ago, as Woods tabbed just six fairways in his two-day stint before leaving prior to the weekend.

Thursday, he hit nine of 14 fairways and 14 greens in regulation.  He gave himself opportunities, and was able to convert on a few, still however leaving shots out there.

“I didn’t make any putts today at all. I only made three birdies today. I had myself in there on a few chances in there to make some putts, make some birdies and didn’t really do it,” Woods said.

On the seventh hole, Woods hit behind the ball several inches on the tee box, and the 3-wood went about 190 yards, just getting to the fairway.  The shot left him 240 yards from the pin.

“I wanted to have a full 5-wood in there,” Woods said with a smile. “I wanted the angle.”

Woods had a bogey-free round going until No.18, when he pulled a 5-wood into the water on the left side of the fairway.  Afterwards, Woods said that the wind picked up and carried his ball.

The game’s top-ranked player has historically struggled at TPC Sawgrass, winning only one time, in  2001.  He has tabbed only four top-10 finishes in his 12 previous starts.

Woods has more on the line this week than The Players Championship title, as he could lose the No.1 ranking if Phil Mickelson wins, and he finishes outside of the top-five.

Mickelson equaled Woods’ round of 70, going off early in the morning versus Woods in the afternoon.

“The reason I felt this was a good day for me was I just didn’t have it,” Mickelson said. “I let a lot of shots slide on the course today around the greens. Had a 6-iron and a couple of par-5s that I didn’t take advantage of and made pars, and yet I was able to shoot a couple under par.

“So [Friday] if I can come out and get hot and shoot something in the mid-60s, I can get back in the tournament.”

TPC Sawgrass was vulnerable on Thursday, as 85 of the 145 players in the field recorded rounds under par.

Woods teed off in the morning round of players on Friday, and shot a 1-under 71.  He is nine strokes behind leader Lee Westwood as the second round continues.

Westwood is the new betting favorite to win The Players Championship on USA Online Sportsbooks, with Woods second in line.

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