AKRON, Ohio — Tiger Woods showed signs of a positive recovery Thursday at the Bridgestone Invitational. Not just from back surgery, but from making bogeys.

Woods bounced back with birdies all three times that he made mistakes, opening with a 2-under-par 68 on a soft, gentle day for scoring at Firestone. It left him four shots behind Marc Leishman of Australia, and hopeful that this time he can build on a solid start.

Woods opened with a 69 at the British Open two weeks ago, only to plunge down the leaderboard the rest of the week.

For so many players, the opening round of this World Golf Championship felt like either a warmup or an audition for bigger events to follow. Ryan Moore of Puyallup was among three players at 65, a good start for someone looking for one big week to get him on the Ryder Cup team. Two more Ryder Cup hopefuls — Patrick Reed and Francesco Molinari of Italy — were among those three shots behind the leader.

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British Open champion Rory McIlroy was among the leaders until a double bogey late in his round. He still had a 69.

Charl Schwartzel and Justin Rose joined Moore at 65.

RENO, Nev. — Nick Watney made nine birdies in a bogey-free round in the Barracuda Championship to take a two-point lead in the modified Stableford event.

Watney earned 18 points at Montreux Golf and Country Club.

Geoff Ogilvy and Tim Wilkinson were tied for second.

Michael Putnam from University Place was tied for 36th with eight points. Kyle Stanley of Gig Harbor had five points. Former Husky Richard H. Lee had four points and ex-Husky Alex Prugh had three points.


Dustin Johnson is taking a leave of absence from golf to seek help for “personal challenges,” a swift end to his season that will keep him from playing the PGA Championship, the FedEx Cup playoffs and the Ryder Cup. Johnson, 30, was fifth in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings.