PGA Championship: After 74 in the first round, Tiger Woods laments his iron play and compliments Rory McIlroy

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PGA Championship
Source: Skysports

Tiger Woods lamented a poor day with his irons after overcoming pain to shoot a 74 in the first round of the PGA Championship.

Woods’ participation at Southern Hills is his first since making a spectacular comeback at The Masters last month, and only his second since a career-threatening car accident in February, with the 15-time major champion getting off to a dream start with two birdies in his first five holes.

With a bad tee shot and a lost shot at the 15th, Woods’ round swiftly unravelled, with his pained look visible as he struggled to three successive bogeys around the turn.

Woods followed a birdie at the third with a lost shot at the fourth, and he concluded an inconsistent first day with consecutive bogeys, confessing to leg discomfort after falling nine strokes behind clubhouse leader Rory McIlroy.

“Physically, I’ve felt better,” Woods told Sky Sports. “Emotionally, I’ve actually felt better too. It was frustrating. I got off to a great start today, I did exactly what I needed to do starting out the round, but I did not keep it going.

“I hit a lot of bad iron shots, put myself in a lot of bad spots, and never really gave myself any birdie putts. I actually felt comfortable with the driver, I hit a lot of fairways with it, but from there it wasn’t very good.

“Most of my bunker shots I hit were long, came out hotter than I thought, but predominately I just hit bad iron shots. That’s not normally how I play, but today unfortunately that’s kind of what it was.”

Woods faces an uphill challenge to replicate his Augusta National cut from last month when he started with a 71 but faltered over the weekend, shooting back-to-back rounds of 78.

The former world No. 1 was in the morning headline three-ball with Jordan Spieth, who started his quest for a career Grand Slam with a disappointing opening-round 72, and Rory McIlroy, who shot a 65 with seven birdies and two bogeys to set the clubhouse target at five-under-par.

“Obviously you can shoot something in the mid-60s, Rory [McIlroy] proved that today,” Woods told Sky Sports. “He made it look very easy. He had a couple of shots where he slipped away and he still shot five-under and made it look very easy.

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