Tiger Woods started strong, but couldn't sustain his good play Thursday in the first round of the $8.5 million World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at famed Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. He shot an even-par 70 and is tied for 31st, seven strokes behind leader Jim Furyk.
A seven-time winner of the event, the 36-year-old Woods has captured a record 16 WGC titles. He was 3-under through 11 holes, then bogeyed three of the closing six, including a three-putt bogey from 25 feet at the par-4 18th hole.
"I just hit bad putts today," said Woods, who used 33 overall. "My speed was off. The putts that I pured, I didn't make. And then the bad putts didn't have a chance."
Tiger struck the ball well, hitting nine of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens in regulation. But he never got untracked on the greens.
"I hit it good today," he said. "Unfortunately, once I got to the greens, I think I averaged about four putts per hole, so it was a great day on the greens."
A late front-nine starter with Branden Grace of South Africa, the duo teed off in toasty temperatures approaching the high 80s. After parring the first hole, Woods birdied the 526-yard, par-5 second, sinking a 19-foot putt.
Tiger two-putted the next four holes for pars, then made a nice save at the 189-yard, par-3 seventh, getting up-and-down from the right greenside bunker for par. He two-putted the eighth and ninth holes for pars, missing a 12-foot birdie attempt at the par-4 ninth, to make the turn in 1-under 34.
Tiger flagged a wedge to eight feet at the par-4 10th and rolled in the birdie putt. He added another at the par-4 11th, flagging his approach shot six feet from the cup.
After a two-putt par at No. 12, he hit a poor second shot at the par-4 13th, then failed to save par, missing from just inside five feet. Following a par at 14, Woods hit a nice approach shot within nine feet at the par-4 15th but was unable to capitalize.
A poor tee shot into the right rough led to a bogey at the long, par-5 16th hole. Forced to lay up short of the water with his third shot, Tiger wedged to 20 feet and two-putted for a bogey.
Woods gave himself another good birdie opportunity at the par-4 17th, but two-putted from 15 feet. The bogey at 18 left a sour taste in his mouth, Tiger heading for the practice range and putting green.
It marked only the second time in 11 first-round starts at Firestone that he was unable to break 70.
"Unfortunately I finished awful, and here we are," said Woods.
Tiger will look to turn things around on Friday. He begins his second round on the 10th tee at 10 a.m. ET with Grace. The field consists of 78 players and there is no cut.