A hole-out for birdie from the bunker at the fifth hole on Saturday got Tiger Woods into a share of the lead at the Hero World Challenge, but the former world number one was headed for trouble.
Betting companies could hardly keep up with the changing odds for the 2017 Masters now that Woods had returned after 16 months away. The 14-time Major champion turned in four under par, but found trouble all over the back nine and signed for 70.
‘I got off to a good start. Probably couldn’t get off to a better start than I did,’ said Woods. ‘Generally when I come back from layoffs, that’s the most concerning part of the game is getting off to I guess halfway decent starts.’
The 41-year-old dropped shots at the 14th and 15th, then found water at the 18th and posted a double bogey there, sliding down to sole 10th.
‘I’ve been into the round early and I’ve been able to build a significant amount of positive shots and go under par early, and unfortunately I haven’t been able to keep it going – except for yesterday,’ he said in reference to a Friday round of 65.
Leading the pack was Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, who was 19 under par and seven strokes clear of second-placed Henrik Stenson and Dustin Johnson.
‘I really can’t think about the lead because everyone in the field can shoot eight, nine under,’ said Matsuyama. ‘So I just have to keep my head down, keep grinding and do the best I can.’
The 24-year-old shot 65 on moving day, including a hole-out for eagle at the par-four seventh, to give himself plenty of breathing space at the top.
‘It’s not that I haven’t thought about it (being world number one), but it’s going to take a lot of wins and hopefully tomorrow will be one of them,’ Matsuyama concluded.
South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen battled around in 73 on Saturday and fell into a share of seventh on nine under par, joined by Jordan Spieth and first-round leader JB Holmes.