Tiger starts hot, cools late at Genesis Invitational

Tiger Woods came out roaring in the opening round of the Genesis Invitational on Thursday, though a cool finish prevented him for threatening for the lead in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

Woods, the tournament host, shot a 2-under-par 69 at Riviera Country Club, finishing five strokes behind leader Matt Kuchar. While Kuchar fired a 7-under 64, no other player bettered 67, with a handful tied in second at 4 under.

Another chunk of players are at 3 under — including world No. 1 Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, Australia’s Jason Day, Patrick Cantlay and Bryson DeChambeau — with Woods finishing alongside more than a dozen players another stroke back. Among others at 2 under are Brooks Koepka and England’s Justin Rose.

Woods is chasing a record 83rd career win on the PGA Tour and also seeking to snap a drought at Riviera — this is the lone PGA Tour event where he has made at least 10 career starts without winning. Thursday marked his 14th start in the event.

The 44-year-old flew out of the gates, reaching the green on the par-5 first hole in two and draining a 25-foot putt for eagle. After three straight pars, Woods stuck his 8-iron from 154 yards at the par-4 fifth inside of 3 feet and tapped in for birdie. He repeated the feat from 103 yards at the par-4 eighth, dropping a wedge to tap-in distance to reach 4 under for the round.

But things stalled from there, as Woods struggled off the tee on the back nine and failed to convert a few putts. He missed a 13-foot birdie try at the par-5 11th, then missed a 6-footer to save par at the par-4 12th. He got up and down for pars at Nos. 13 and 15 but failed to take advantage of the final par-5, No. 17.

At the par-4 18th, Woods’ drive sailed well right, forcing him to play out to the fairway, 150 yards from the hole. His approach settled 29 feet from the pin, and he two-putted for bogey to cap his round.

Playing with Justin Thomas and Steve Stricker, Woods’ group will tee off at 10:16 a.m. ET on Friday.

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