Tiger Woods hit 9 of 14 fairways and drained 11 one-putts during the first round of the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach on Thursday -- stats that before the round would have brought predictions of a potentially dominating lead.
Instead, on a day of record scoring, he wound up five shots back of the leader, England's Justin Rose, in a tie for 28th after a 1-under-par 70.
The driver has always been the most inconsistent club in Woods' bag, and the once-mighty putter has been far more average since his return from a fourth back procedure in his 40s.
Considered arguably the best iron player in the history of the game, Woods hit a "double-cross" off the tee on the par-3 5th hole that foreshadowed issues with his iron play throughout his opening round at Pebble Beach, Calif. He wound up with a bogey on that hole.
He rebounded with birdies on the next two holes, but he still didn't stick iron shots on either hole as close as expected. Woods then drilled the fairway on Nos. 9-11 but missed the green with all three approach shots and had to scramble for pars.
Woods attempted to reach the par-5 14th hole in two, but left it in the front bunker. He clipped the shot out of the sand clear over the putting surface, chipped it back onto the green and then hit a 30-foot par putt that elicited a fist pump.
"I probably shouldn't have tried to fly it that far back," he acknowledged to FOX Sports. "I clipped it, and I was just trying to hack out and take my medicine and happened to hit a putt."
Woods also had a chance to reach the par-5 18th in two, but he pulled his approach shot left into the back of another bunker. He played a safe bunker shot to 30 feet and two-putted for his 11th consecutive par.
"It was a grind, wow," Woods said with a grin. "Pebble Beach, you have like the first seven holes and you can get it going. After that, it's a fight, and I kind of proved that today. Just kind of hung in there, and just kind of grinded along.
"I was trying to just kind of hang in there today. Just kind of one of those days."
With a morning tee time starting on the 10th hole Friday, Woods said he was "done" on Thursday and would focus on rest rather than going back to the range to work on his game.
--Field Level Media