Otago Daily Times

‘Up and down’ round enough for lead

GOLF

- Sports · Golf · Los Angeles · Championship · Tiger Woods · England · Country Club · Thousand Oaks · California · Japan · Dustin Johnson · Justin Rose · Thousand Oaks · Adam Scott

LOS AN­GE­LES: Se­bas­tian Munoz had an event­ful open­ing round that in­cluded two ea­gles in an eight­un­der­par 64 that gave him a one­shot lead at the Zozo Cham­pi­onship yes­ter­day, while Tiger Woods’ bid for a record 83rd PGA Tour win got off to a stut­ter­ing start.

World num­ber three Justin Thomas got hot on the back nine, fin­ish­ing ea­gle­birdiebird­ie for a seven­un­der 65 to climb into a tie for sec­ond with Eng­land’s Tyrrell Hat­ton.

The tour­na­ment is be­ing played at the Sher­wood Coun­try Club in Thousand Oaks, Cal­i­for­nia, in­stead of Ja­pan, due to lo­gis­ti­cal is­sues caused by the Covid­19 pan­demic.

Munoz, com­ing off a top 10 fin­ish at last week’s CJ Cup, had a shaky start after his tee shot on the first hole found the rough and led to the first of his two front­nine bo­geys.

But the Colom­bian then landed four birdies over the next five holes be­fore drilling in his first ea­gle at the sev­enth, mak­ing the turn at four­un­der.

His roller­coaster round con­tin­ued on the back nine where he added four more birdies, a dou­ble bo­gey and an ea­gle after hol­ing out from over 50 yards on 16.

‘‘Not a nor­mal round,’’ said Munoz.

‘‘It hap­pens, and I’ve be­come bet­ter with man­ag­ing crazy up and downs.’’

De­fend­ing cham­pion Woods strug­gled with all parts of his game in a four­over 76, leav­ing him tied for sec­ond to last.

A rare bright spot came when he drained an 87­foot putt on the 14th that elicited a broad smile from the Amer­i­can.

De­spite world num­ber one Dustin John­son and Aus­tralian Adam Scott be­ing side­lined due to pos­i­tive Covid­19 tests, the event still boasts a strong line­up.

It in in­cludes world num­ber two Jon Rahm (68), Justin Rose (67) and PGA Cham­pi­onship win­ner Collin Morikawa (71).

The field has no cut and will be the last event for many of the play­ers be­fore the resched­uled Masters, now tak­ing place from Novem­ber 12­15.

 ?? PHO­TOS: GETTY IM­AGES/USA TO­DAY SPORTS ?? The eyes have it . . . Se­bas­tian Munoz of Colom­bia lines up a putt yes­ter­day on the 17th green dur­ing the first round of the Zozo Cham­pi­onship at Sher­wood in Thousand Oaks, Cal­i­for­nia. Left: Tiger Woods hits out of the bunker on the sec­ond hole.
PHO­TOS: GETTY IM­AGES/USA TO­DAY SPORTS The eyes have it . . . Se­bas­tian Munoz of Colom­bia lines up a putt yes­ter­day on the 17th green dur­ing the first round of the Zozo Cham­pi­onship at Sher­wood in Thousand Oaks, Cal­i­for­nia. Left: Tiger Woods hits out of the bunker on the sec­ond hole.
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