January 8 2012
KAPALUA, Hawaii -- To no one's surprise, Gary Woodland has the longest drive of the first two days of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, a 450-yarder at the 18th hole in the first round.
But perhaps a bit surprising is that he entered Sunday's third round ranked just 12th in driving distance, averaging 270.3 yards. That's 30 yards behind fellow basher Bubba Watson, who ranks first in that category.
While the Plantation Course's wide fairways would seem ideal for Woodland's power game, he has held himself in check on some holes in order to manage the slopes and contours of this hilly course.
A perfect example is the opening hole. Woodland just teed off Sunday and opted for a 3-wood off the tee. He hit a perfect shot that found the right-to-left slope and went 365 yards. Others are using the same strategy. In fact, playing partner Nick Watney also used 3-wood and cranked it 366 yards.
Woodland is 2 under for the tournament, 13 shots off the lead at a course that he’s playing for the first time as a pro. Unfortunately, his putting has not been his friend this week -- he has needed 63 putts in the first two rounds and has made just three putts outside 7-1/2 feet.