Late blunder blights Woods' return

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The Independent Online

By Mark Lamport-Stokes in Thousand Oaks

Tiger Woods, back in action after a two-month break, was left seething after double-bogeying the final hole to surrender a share of the lead in the Target World Challenge first round here in California on Thursday.

The world No 1 and tournament host had to settle for a three-under-par 69 after finding a water hazard with his approach into the 18th green before two-putting from 10 feet. That left him in a four-way tie for second place, a stroke behind pacesetting American, Jim Furyk, who birdied two of the last six holes for a 68 at a breezy but sunny Sherwood Country Club.

The Swede, Henrik Stenson, had been tied for the lead with Woods at five under with three holes to play but bogeyed 16 and 17 to finish level with Woods, the Masters champion, Zach Johnson and South Africa's Rory Sabbatini.

"As frustrating as it ended, it was a pretty good day overall," three-times champion Woods said after making his first competitive appearance since the Presidents Cup in late September. "But how can you not be angry? I made six on the last hole and threw away a good round of golf. I should have been seven under par easily and I messed up. It was my short game. I hit two terrible pitches on the two par-fives on the back nine. I've got a lot of work to do the next three days. I have to clean up a little bit around the greens."

Woods pushed his 18th tee shot way right before pulling his approach shot into the stream guarding the left side of the green. "I tried to go for it and pulled it just a touch and ended up in the hazard," he said of his second shot. "But, for my first round back, I was very pleased at my consistency."

The Open champion, Padraig Harrington, was one of just seven players in the elite field of 16 to break par after an opening 71 left him three strokes off the pace. Colin Montgomerie propped up the leaderboard after an opening 80.

l James Kingston leads the South African Airways Open in Paarl by one shot after a second-round 69. The South African was one of just three players to end the day under par after high winds. Zimbabwe's Andrew McLardy hit a 71 and Kyron Sullivan of Wales a 72 to remain in the hunt.

Scores, Digest, page 67