Man in the Stands

Tiger Back on the Tour, Tees up at Torrey Pines

This week Tiger has got back to the tee boxes, fairways and greens. His first tee time of the 2011 season came at Noon on Thursday, January 27 on the North Course of Torrey Pines in San Diego, California. He had, in the “Tiger Woods standard,” a decent day. He shot a –3 (69) and came out of the first round 5 back of the lead and tied for 22nd. To achieve his 69, Tiger birdied holes #2, #6, and #12.

Korean Sung-hoon Kang held the lead after finishing with –8 (64) in round 1. He finished the round with 5 birdies and an eagle on hole #14. But as good as round 1 was for Kang, he quickly lost his lead after shooting a +4 on Friday in round 2 and dropping all the way down the leaderboard to come in tied for 31st. He left the 2nd round with 7 bogeys and 3 birdies to round out shooting a 76.

In round 2, Tiger got to play the course he originally wanted to start with: the South Course. How did his favored of the 2 courses reward him? With a 69. That’s right. Same as he shot on the dreaded North Course. 69, –3, 3 under. However you say it, he shot no better on day 2 on his beloved South Course. Although he shot another 69, he moved up the leaderboard from being tied at 22 on day one to tied for 12th at 6 under. To get there, he birdied 6 holes and then hurt himself by playing “bogey golf” on 3 holes.                                                                       (To see Tiger’s scorecards click the link: http://espn.go.com/golf/players/scorecards?playerId=462)

Bill Haas came away from the 2nd round as the leader. He started the day tied for 5th and 3 off the lead. Haas ended up with a total score of –11 after shooting –6 on the day, birdieing 8 and bogeying 2.

With Haas leading heading into day 3, Tiger had some ground to cover if he was going to win his first tournament back on the tour. Tiger was walking straight into the day down 5 strokes and today, wouldn’t be Tiger’s day. In his 3rd round, Tiger had 4 bogeys, 2 of which came on holes 2 and 3. While he did have 2 birdies, that he left the South Course today shooting 2 over par (74) which essentially drops him out of contention for the tournament. He slid back down the leaderboard to being tied for 24th with a overall of –4.

Taking advantage of round 3 was “Lefty” Phil Mickelson, who started the day tied for 3rd and shot a –4 to catch leader Bill Haas.  Mickelson turned in a card sporting 5 birdies and 1 bogey. Haas played 4 birdies and 3 bogeys to add another stroke to his score. The two head into the final round all tied up at 12 under. The Final round from Torrey Pines is looking like there will be a pretty competitive ending, maybe even an early season playoff round. With Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan and Anthony Kim rounding out the top 5, it could get quite interesting. Tune in to see how it finishes up.

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