Defending champion Tiger Woods suffered a nightmare finish to his delayed first round at the U.S. Open, eventually coming home in a four-over-par 74 at Bethpage Black on Friday.
World number one Woods, who had been at level-par with four holes to play, finished with a run of double bogey, bogey, par, bogey to leave him with a mountain to climb after the first 18 holes. “I was even par with four to go,” Woods told reporters. “I was right there where I needed to be, and two bad shots and a mud ball later, here we go and I’m at four-over-par.” With play washed out after just three-and-a-quarter hours on Thursday, there was a blanket restart on Friday morning after groundstaff worked right up until the players resumed their rounds to get the waterlogged par-70 course up to scratch. However, Woods and playing partner Padriag Harrington, the defending British Open and US PGA champion, both failed to trouble the leaderboard when play got underway.
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Woods missed an eight-foot par putt at the seventh with his first stroke of the day to fall to two-over-par while Ireland’s Harrington also made bogey at the hole and then bogeyed the ninth after tangling with the rough off the tee. Six-over became seven-over at the 12th but the Dubliner sent down back-to-back birdies at 13 and 14 and was back to five-over with four holes to play.
Woods also clawed his way back from two-over, with birdies at the 11th and 14th to get to level par but then both major champions double-bogeyed the par-four 15th to swing once more into reverse gear. Woods kept going in the wrong direction but Harrington finished with a birdie at the last having got out of trouble from a fairway bunker with a wedge to 12-feet.