By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Even with the two closing bogeys, Tiger Woods couldn't be disappointed with the 68 he shot on Thursday during the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open.
After all, he was 1 over after he missed the green at the fourth hole and three-putted for double bogey. But Woods answered with a birdie on the next hole and holed a bunker shot for eagle at No. 6 to get back on track.
Four more birdies followed, and Woods missed a 16-footer for a fifth at the 14th hole that would have put him in a tie for the lead at a tournament he's won six times previously. Missed greens on the 15th and 17th produced the two bogeys but the world No. 2 finds himself just three strokes off the lead held jointly by Brandt Snedeker and K.J. Choi.
"After being 1 under and then 1 over, to battle back and get to 6 at one point was a good job," Woods said. "A 64 for the day on the South is a good number."
Woods, who hit 7 of 14 fairways and 13 of 17 greens in regulation, has only played the Farmers Insurance Open once since he won the U.S. Open on the South Course in 2008. In the early stages of a swing change, Woods tied for 44th in 2011 -- the only time he's failed to crack the top 10 in 12 starts.
"It is different this tournament, because we didn't play this fast," Woods recalled. "We had some rain overnight last night, but still these fairways are zipping. At least the greens are receptive. The greens are a little more receptive than in the practice round."
Woods felt he did a lot of things right on Thursday, just as he did in the two rounds he played in Abu Dhabi last week. The catalyst in the round was the way he responded to the double bogey.
"I knew I had two par 5s on the front side so I could get it down to par, and then maybe get two or three on the back," Woods said. "I thought that would be a good score.
"And lo' and behold, I get it rolling. Get to 6 and a chance to go to 7, so it can change quickly. But, we had the perfect conditions for it. We couldn't ask for better conditions to score than we had today."