Date: November 10, 2011
Author: Steve Orme, Sportal

Tiger and the albatross

Tiger Woods says he can feel his old mojo returning after the former world No.1 produced a near perfect ball-striking display to open the Emirates Australian Open. Woods hit an impressive 14-of-18 greens at a wind-swept Lakes layout on the way to a competitive four-under 68 on Thursday. The 35-year-old was one of a handful of players to break 70 in the afternoon wave as he sits in a share of eighth spot, trailing overnight leader Jarrod Lyle who shot a sizzling 65 earlier in the day. “I hit it really good today, that was exactly how I&aposve been hitting it at home so that&aposs good that I was able to take it to the golf course and in these conditions hit all the shots,” Woods enthused. “I missed a couple of greens here and there but missed them in the right spots, except for nine, that was a terrible golf shot, but I got away with it with a good up and down.” “I think it&aposs rewarding the fact I hit it just like I have been at home, this is the way I&aposve been hitting it at home and kind of what I&aposve been telling you guys.” “I just needed to take it to the golf course, and here it is.” Woods says his score could have been better but is pleased with his ability to stay patient in the difficult conditions. “I didn&apost birdie either par five coming in and I hit four lips early in my putts … but I hung in there and just grinded.” “I was very patient all day and just took advantage when I could.” “It&aposs very easy to make a couple of bogeys in a row and get it going the wrong way but I was just as patient as I possibly could because I knew that there aren&apost going to be a lot of guys in the afternoon shooting in the 60s.” “I didn&apost make any birdies until eight but there&aposs some birdie holes on the back nine and I knew if I could birdie those holes it&aposs going to be a great round.” Meanwhile, tournament favourite Adam Scott says his spectacular albatross on the par-five 8th was the catalyst for his opening round of 69. The Queenslander began his day with a birdie but surrendered two early bogeys before producing the shot of the tournament, a majestic six-iron from 199m which bounced short of the pin and never looked like missing en route to the bottom of the cup. “Yeah it was a bit of luck to go in the hole, it was a good shot but a bit of luck and it certainly put me on the right path after a bit of a slow start,” Scott said. “It was straight down wind and I was just trying to put the ball right of the hole and it drew in there a little bit on the wind … and it was very lucky to go in.” The 2009 champion is pleased with his start to the tournament after also enduring the toughest of the conditions in the afternoon. “It wasn&apost that easy out there and three under is a good score judging by what the other scores were this afternoon, so I&aposm happy with that and it&aposs certainly something to build on for the next three days,” Scott said. Scott will start his second round from the 10th tee at 7.15am local time on Friday morning, with Woods to follow at 7.25am while Lyle will head out from the 10th at 12.05pm.