Buick Invitational round one: It's going to get tougher for Tiger
Curses. The eagle landed to stuff my goose - well almost. An honourable draw was declared between layers and backers of Tiger Woods after day one. His price has moved in marginally from about 2.6 to 2.2, but only after skidding out to 4 at one point Thursday after his faltering start. Oh to have been able to work the in-play market.
Even so, with Tiger seven shots off the lead and just a hole to go things looked manageable - then in goes his second eagle of the day. Drat!
The maestro is sporting a mean driver that placed him sixth for distance off the tee and, like last year, his iron play was good and his putting a bit ropey. That could still make for an interesting Friday as he crosses to the south course - playing an average of almost five shots harder than the north on Thursday. Look at the leaderboard - only two of the top 56 were on the south course.
I could back Tiger back now and take a minor hit. But victory for the great one is still not a given. Back in 2002, for instance, Tiger also shot a 66 in the first round and ended fifth. Sure, the south seems to be playing a bit easier this year - a shot better than last year’s first round. But Tiger’s overall average on the south since 2000 is a little under 69 and I think he’ll have to do better than that to take the lead.
The key Friday will be how those moving to the north course come out and play. And that’s where today’s judicious bets might be best directed: how about the best performer on the south Thursday, Camilo Villegas? There’s a bunch down there from Ryan Moore to Charles Howell III and Robert Allenby capable of monstering the north Friday. Hand me that straw someone.
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