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 ran off three straight birdies late in his round on the easier North Course at Torrey Pines for an 8-under 64. That gave 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 had a 67, the best score on the South by two shots, and even more astounding is that he played bogey-free.
The South played nearly four shots harder than the North.
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“You want to really take advantage of the North Course because it will yield to you a little bit, and the South Course will not,” Cink said.
Woods, making his 2014 debut, failed to birdie any of the par 5s and shot a 72.
“Even par is not too bad, but I didn’t play the par 5s worth a darn today,” Woods said. “Obviously, that’s (tantamount) to try to get any kind of scoring on the South Course. You’ve got to take care of the par 5s because there’s not a lot of holes you can make birdie here. Subsequently, I didn’t finish under par.”
Phil Mickelson nearly withdrew after his back locked up on him but managed to finish with a 69.
Mickelson, 43, said he still may have to pull out of his hometown tournament.
“I’ll get some treatment and see if it’ll go away,” Mickelson said. “I might need a few days’ rest. I don’t know.”
Michael Putnam of University Place had a 69, former Husky Chris Williams shot a 71 and ex-Husky Richard H. Lee had a 72, all on the North Course.
• Lydia Ko took a share of the lead in her first start as an LPGA Tour member, matching Meena Lee with a 5-under 68 in the season-opening Bahamas LPGA Classic in Paradise Island.
• Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello birdied four of his last five holes for a 7-under 65 and a two-stroke lead after the second round of the Qatar Masters in Doha.