Tiger blasts to Japan lead as Aussies flop

Tiger Woods has a share of the lead in the maiden PGA Tour event in Japan while Australians Jason Day, Adam Scott and Marc Leishman all struggled.

24-Oct-2019 By Australian Associated Press
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Tiger Woods may have erased any doubt about playing in the Presidents Cup in Australia as he fired a brilliant six-under 64 to share the lead in the US PGA Tour's inaugural Zozo Championship in Japan.

Making his tour return two months after his latest knee surgery, Woods rallied from bogeys on his opening three holes to reel off nine birdies at the par-70 Narashino Country Club on Thursday.

Woods, the US team captain, must decide whether to play himself as a captain's pick against the International team in the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne in December and all indications are that he will.

Woods was followed by a huge gallery of Japanese fans getting their first chance to see the 43-year-old play in the Tokyo area and he did not let them down with a performance that conjured up images of the halcyon days when he strutted the fairways with an aura of invincibility.

"It was a crazy day," he said after earning a share of the lead with fellow American Gary Woodland, one shot in front of home favourite Hideki Matsuyama.

"I hit bad shot after bad shot after bad shot ... and next thing you know, things aren't looking very good," Woods said.

"I certainly was not expecting to shoot six under par after that start. That was a very ugly start. It flipped and I got hot and made a bunch of putts."

His 64 was his best score since he carded 62 in the first round of the BMW Championship in September of last year.

"This is how I've been hitting it at home, so that (64) wasn't a real big surprise," he said.

While Woods thrived, the elite three-man Australian contingent struggled in the 78-strong field.

Jason Day was the pick of the trio with a 73, while fellow former world No.1 Adam Scott made a 74 and Marc Leishman battled to post a 76.

The opening round was played in fine if cloudy weather, but a forecast for torrential rain on Friday has players wondering how much competition will be possible before the course becomes unplayable.


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