BETHESDA, Md. — Tiger Woods was back on the PGA Tour for the first time in more than three months Thursday and said he felt “fantastic.”
He was talking about his back, not his game.
One day into his most recent return from injury, that’s what mattered to him.
Woods opened with two straight bogeys, made five more bogeys in a seven-hole stretch around the turn at tough Congressional and finally found his groove late in the opening round of the Quicken Loans National for a 3-over-par 74.
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Only four players from the morning wave had a higher score, and Woods will have to do better Friday if he wants to avoid missing the cut for the first time in two years.
“I made so many little mistakes,” Woods said. “So I played a lot better than the score indicated.”
Congressional had a lot to do with that.
Two weeks after a U.S. Open that had no rough, Congressional made it feel like one. Any shot just off the fairway was buried, making it difficult for even the powerful players to reach the green on some of the longer par 4s.
Greg Chalmers finished with three straight birdies for a 66 and a one-shot lead over Ricky Barnes. Erik Compton, a runner-up at the U.S. Open two weeks ago, closed with four straight birdies to join Patrick Reed at 68. They were among 14 out of 60 players from the morning who broke par.
Woods and his playing competitors, Jason Day and Jordan Spieth, were out of sync. Day had a 73 and Spieth a 74.
“We were all kind of looking to break 80,” Woods said. “It was a bit of a fight today for all of us, but we all hung in there.”
Michael Putnam from University Place shot a 69. Kyle Stanley from Gig Harbor had a 73. Former Husky Richard H. Lee shot a 74.
PITTSBURGH — Joe Durant, David Frost and Doug Garwood sprinted to the early lead at the Senior Players Championship, shooting 6-under 64s at defenseless Fox Chapel.
Still drying out after days of steady rain, the par-70 layout offered little resistance. Frost and Garwood breezed through their rounds without making a bogey, and Durant offset his lone bogey with seven birdies.
Bernhard Langer, Corey Pavin, Larry Mize, Steve Pate, Olin Browne, Bart Bryant, Peter Fowler and Wes Short Jr. shot 65.
Colin Montgomerie, the Senior PGA winner last month, opened with a 5-under 30 on the front nine before fading to a 69. Defending champion Kenny Perry, looking for his fourth major title in the last year, had a 70.
Kirk Triplett, a graduate of Pullman High, shot a 70. Rick Fehr from Redmond had a 71.
• England’s Danny Willett and Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello shot 8-under 64s to share the lead in the BMW International Open in Cologne, Germany, while local favorite Martin Kaymer opened with a 71 at Gut Laerchenhof in his first round since winning the U.S. Open.
• After going more than 40 years without being played on a public course, the PGA Championship is headed to two in a row. Multiple reports indicated Harding Park in San Francisco has been selected to host the PGA Championship in 2020. The 2019 event will be played at Bethpage Black, a public course on Long Island. The PGA Championship has not been played on the West Coast since 1998 at Sahalee in Sammamish.