J.T. Griffin's first career round on the PGA Tour was not a memorable one. The final opportunity to qualify for THE PLAYERS would involve either winning the Wells Fargo Championship or moving into the top-10 in the FedExCup standings.
So it was no surprise to see the keen fan grinning from ear to ear when Woods walked over to hand him a signed glove at the 17th hole. His ensuing putt lipped out hard, and while he dissected the par-5 that followed to make his third birdie of the day, Woods 3-putted from 15 feet on the 16th hole for bogey. He stands 14 strokes off the pace of first-round leader John Peterson.
This week marks Woods' first time at Quail Hollow since he missed the cut in 2012.
That was before Peterson came to life late in his round. Then he holed a 56-degree wedge from 107 yards in the fairway for eagle on the next hole. He missed four putts inside 8 feet, including 4-footers on Nos.
"I would have taken that score before I went out there", he said of his 68. "I struggled making the adjustments today".
Watch the Wells Fargo Championship throughout the week live on Sky Sports Golf. This year, he earned a spot in the tournament due to the five-year exemption that exists for past champions of the event. "From one generation to the other, at both ends of the spectrum, it's been incredible".More news: Cricket Australia optimistic of India playing D/N Test
If he wins this week?
"Ball-striking-wise, I'm fine, I'm right there", Woods said. "So right there, that puts me at 3 under par without really doing much".
"Obviously he knows how to win, he's not scared when he's in the situation of in contention on the weekends".
They recruited Love's former Alabama teammate Justin Thomas, who won the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow, and Love III was supposed to round out the foursome.
Graeme McDowell matched Woods' level par start to share 34th place as the 2010 US Open victor enjoyed a mixed round with four birdies cancelled out by four bogeys. He wound up in the group of five players at 67 that included PGA Tour rookie Keith Mitchell and Tyrrell Hatton. The only "name" on the front page of the leaderboard is two-time champion Rory McIlroy at three under. Paul Casey and Jason Day were among seven players at 69.
Woods bogeyed two and birdied one on the back nine to finish at even par on the day.More news: Ichiro Suzuki joining Mariners' front office
"The way this golf course is set up, and the way it's playing right now, the guys are going to be stacked", he said. "We're all going to be close", Woods said. "There's probably going to be, I'm guessing, 15 guys with a chance on Sunday".
Tiger Woods will be back in action from Friday (NZT).
He appears to be struggling to adjust to slow greens. "If I just make a few putts, I should be two or three under par, which is fine".
"I just gave you credit", Love shouted back.
He was tied for 35th, his worst position after the opening round since he was tied for 61st at Riviera in February.
He also shared that the support he has received since returning to the PGA Tour has meant a lot to him. He has four months left in the season.More news: Oculus Go Standalone VR Headset on Sale Now
"Every one, " he said with a big smile. "He can obviously still play with everybody out here".
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