Vijay Singh charged into an early one-shot lead with a blistering finish to Thursday's opening round of the Greenbrier Classic at White Sulphur Springs in West Virginia as Tiger Woods made an erratic start.
Seeking his first PGA Tour victory since the 2008 Deutsche Bank Championship, Fijian Singh birdied the last four holes on the Old White TPC Course to card a superb seven-under-par 63.
The smooth-swinging former world number one covered the back nine in a sizzling six-under 30 to shoot his lowest round on the U.S. circuit in four years.
“It's my first good round of the year that I would say I'm probably comfortable with,” the 49-year-old Singh told reporters after mixing eight birdies with a lone bogey. “And it's a good way to start a tournament.”
Tour veteran Jeff Maggert opened with a six-birdie 64 to end the day level with fellow American Martin Flores, a stroke in front of compatriots J.B. Holmes and U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson, plus Argentina's Andres Romero.
Woods, the hottest player on the PGA Tour with three victories this season and bidding this week for a second consecutive win, returned a roller-coaster 71 that included a double-bogey seven at the 17th.
“Most of the day I was slightly off and I definitely struggled with my green speeds,” Woods told Golf Channel after totaling 31 putts in the opening round.
“My last three tournaments were awfully quick and I just didn't have the right speed out there.”
Woods, who overtook Jack Nicklaus in second place on the all-time list of PGA Tour winners with his two-shot triumph at the AT&T National on Sunday, is competing in the Greenbrier Classic for the first time.
Asked if he was still adjusting to the Old White Course, Woods replied: “It takes a little bit of time, especially in our tournament conditions.
“The ball goes a little bit further because of adrenalin but I've got the feel of the golf course now. I'm going to hit some balls later and definitely putt for a while.”
Four-times major winner Phil Mickelson and fellow American Scott Stallings, who claimed last year's title at The Greenbrier resort in a three-way playoff, were among the late starters in the opening round. – Reuters