Anirban Lahiri handled the tougher South Course at Torrey Pines better than many of the big names till he came to the back nine in the first round of Farmers Insurance Open here.
After being two-under through 11 holes, India’s Lahiri had a nightmarish stretch from 14th to the 17th, as he bogeyed three times and double-bogeyed once. He ended with three-over 75 and was tied 119.
Tiger Woods, who has won an incredible number of times on this course, and is looking for his record-breaking 83rd PGA Tour title this week, shot his best opening round of the year since 2011.
He shot three-under 69 on the North Course. Woods birdied three of the four Par-5s, and had five birdies against two bogeys and was tied 21.
Woods was still happy. Woods has not broken 70 in his first round of the year since a 69 on the North at Torrey in 2011.
Sebastian Cappelen on the South Course and Keegan Bradley on the North Course shot 66 each to share the opening-round lead.
Rory McIlroy, with a new driver and playing in the group in front of Woods, shot 67 as he chases a win that could make him world No. 1 for the first time in four years.
Cappelen, a rookie from Denmark, who plays the piano and the guitar, shot five birdies against one bogey on the front stretch and then had three birdies against one bogey on the back for 66.
Bradley, at the relatively easier North course, had a bogey-free round with an eagle and a birdie on front nine and then three birdies on the back nine.
Playing at the event for the third time after missing the cut in 2016 and finishing tied 54 in 2018, Lahiri hit eight of the 14 fairways and nine of the 18 greens in regulation.
Lahiri had a slice of luck as he drove into the rough on the fourth, but chipped in his third shot from over 50 feet for a birdie.
Then, on the Par-5 sixth, he again chipped for a birdie from just 20 feet and just off the green to get to two-under. He turned in two-under and missed an eight footer for a birdie on 10th.
He bogeyed the par-4 12th as he got onto the green in three and two-putted for his first bogey. Then, on par4 14th, Lahiri was on the green in two, and then three-putted including a missed par putt from inside three feet to fall to even par for the round.
On the par-4 15th, Lahiri went into the native area and took a penalty and did not have a great third shot in the rough. He ended with a double bogey after hitting the green in 4.
The troubles continued on the par-3 16thas he two-putted from 10 feet for another bogey and dropped to three-over for the round.
On the par-4 17th, Lahiri went into the fairway bunker and missed an eight-foot par putt to go four-over.
Finally he stopped the run as he chipped to seven feet on 18th and holed it for a birdie and finished three-over 75.
It was a rough ride for some of the big names, too, as Justin Rose, Gary Woodland and Rickie Fowler, all playing on the South Course shot three-over 75 each and were way down in tied 119 with Lahiri.
Francesco Molinari was further down at tied 152 in the 156-field.
Woods said, “It was nice to kind of keep the round going a little bit.”
“Overall, pleased to shoot something in the 60s today. I could probably, maybe could have gotten one or two more out of my round today. But overall, I felt like it was a good start.