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PGA Tour hopes to 'never leave Japan'


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Woods shrugs off shaky start to lead in Japan

INZAI CITY, Japan (AP) – Tiger Woods couldn’t have scripted a greater state of affairs for the PGA’s first event in Japan regardless of his shaky start.

After a layoff from arthroscopic surgical procedure on his left knee two months in the past, Woods shot a 6-under 64 on Thursday to share the first-round lead on the Zozo Championship.

Woods was tied with Gary Woodland, with native favourite Hideki Matsuyama one stro-ke behind.

Teeing off from the 10th gap, issues didn’t start properly for Woods who despatched his opening shot into the water. That led to the primary of three straight bogeys.

“The start I got off to wasn’t very good, I hit bad shot after bad shot … and the next thing you know, things aren’t looking so good,” Woods mentioned.



But the Masters champion shortly discovered his recreation on the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club, with birdies on 4 of his subsequent six holes to get to 1 underneath.

“After the start, the ball striking was better, the putting was really good,” Woods mentioned. “I used to be hitting lots of good putts, the ball was rolling tight which was good. “

Woods is making his first start in his 23rd season on the PGA Tour, needing one victory to attain 82 wins and tie the profession file held by Sam Snead.

Woods final performed in an official event in Japan in 2006 on the Dunlop Phoenix, the place he misplaced in a playoff to Padraig Harrington. He received the Dunlop Phoenix the 2 earlier years.

As happy as Woods was along with his day, the Japanese followers couldn’t have been happier. The American is vastly fashionable in Japan and drew the largest galleries on Thursday.

“The people here in Japan have come out and supported this event,” Woods mentioned. “It’s been a lot of fun to play in front of them again, I haven’t done it in a while. I’ve missed it. They’ve always been fantastic with golf and supported their golf here.”

Woodland had six birdies, together with one on the par-5 18th.

“I played well from top to bottom,” Woodland mentioned. “I drove the ball well and anytime I can control the ball on the greens from the fairway, that adds up to a pretty good day.”

Matsuyama led early with 4 birdies on the entrance 9, however faltered with a bogey on the ultimate gap.

“I am just one stro-ke behind the leader so think I am in a good position,” Matsuyama mentioned. “Tomorrow I need to minimize my mistakes.”

The Zozo event is a part of three tournaments that make up the PGA Tour’s Asia Swing, together with the CJ Cup in South Korea received final week by Justin Thomas and the HSBC Champions in Shanghai subsequent week.

Organizers mentioned greater than 20,000 followers attended the opening day.

Heavy rain from a storm over the Pacific Ocean is anticipated on Friday. With climate points predicted for the second spherical, the tee occasions have been moved up an hour however play may nonetheless be affected.

Among the opposite large names, Rory McIlroy (72) struggled with the windy circumstances and Thomas had an even-par 70.

Jason Day, who beat Woods in a Skins recreation on Monday on the similar venue, completed with a 73 whereas Jordan Spieth shot a 74.

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More AP golf: https://apnews.com/apf-Golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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