Sat, Feb 19, 2005 - Page 19 News List

Putting gives Woods fits in Nissan


Tiger Woods tossed his putter some 12m at his bag after going from the right fringe to the left fringe and making bogey. He took an angry swing after missing a short birdie putt. And he ended his round watching two putts burn the edge of the cup.

He still managed a 4-under 67, leaving him two shots behind Brian Davis of England after the first round of the Nissan Open. Despite his career struggles at Riviera, Woods had a hard time finding the bright spot in what turned out to be a rainy day.

"I putted like a fool today," Woods said. "It was an absolutely horrific day on the greens. But I'm hitting it great. If I would have just putted normal today, I probably could have shot an 8 under with not too much effort."

Davis made it around without too much effort.

The 29-year-old Englishman began with a 4-iron into 4 feet for eagle on the par-5 first, finished with eight pars and signed for a 65 to take a one-shot lead over Luke Donald, Darren Clarke and Brett Quigley.

What pleased him the most was the only time he came close to a bogey, making a 12-foot par save from the bunker.

"I've played a lot of links golf, and if you drop a shot, you start fighting it," Davis said.

He mentioned links golf on a couple of occasions. The wind was into his face along a stretch of holes on the front, then turned and played into his face on some of the closing holes -- just like it does on some links courses in Britain when the tide changes.

The Nissan Open had a British feel in other areas -- particularly the leaderboard.

Donald, another young Englishman, made three straight birdies on his back nine -- twice with 10m putts -- and was tied for the lead until his tee shot on No. 9 landed in a divot near the bunker, and he placed his approach into a bunker to close with a bogey.

Clarke is from Northern Ireland, and he got off to another strong start with one of several highlights in the first round at Riviera. On the par-3 sixth, famous for a bunker situated in the middle of the green, Clarke's 7-iron landed on the skirt of the fringe surrounding the bunker, then spun back into the cup for an ace.

Australian Steve Bowditch took advantage of clear morning conditions to shoot hit second straight 5-under 67 and take a five-shot lead after two rounds of the Jacob's Creek Open at Royal Adelaide.

Bowditch, 21, had a 10-under-par total of 134. An early teeoff time allowed him to finish his round as heavy rain began to fall. Later, a wind shift made life tougher for the afternoon groups in the joint Australasian PGA and Nationwide tours event.

Six golfers were tied for second with 5-under totals of 139 -- Americans Chris Tidland, Keoke Cotner, Dan Olsen, Brent Schwarzrock and Brian Kortan and Australian Greg Chalmers. Chalmers won the Australian Open at Royal Adelaide in 1998.

American Cliff Kresge, who was tied for the first-round lead with Bowditch, had a 74 Friday and is tied for 11th with 13 others.

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