Tiger Woods begins pursuit of world number one ranking with steady 69 at Bay Hill
Rory McIlory could be knocked from the top of the standings this weekend
Tiger Woods’ pursuit of golf’s No1 ranking began smoothly at Bay Hill with an opening 69. The current incumbent, Rory McIlory, elected not to play the Arnold Palmer Invitational thus inviting Woods to resume top spot for the first since October 2010 if he successfully defends his title on Sunday.
Though outscored by his playing partner, Justin Rose, who opened with a 65, Woods was tied fourth in the top half of the draw. An eagle on the outward nine and a hat-trick of birdies coming in took Woods to within two of Rose’s lead but a bogey at the seventh, his 16th, slowed his march.
A bogey at the last took Lee Westwood back to one under par, a shot clear of Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell. After dropping a shot at his second hole, the 11th, there was no holding Rose, who raced to the top of the leaderboard with six birdies and an eagle.
Luke Donald eschewed the Florida swing for the tropical heat of Kuala Lumpur. After an opening round of 74 at the Malaysian Open the biggest name in the field must have wondered why he bothered. “If you are a little off this course can get you,” Donald said. “When I did have opportunities I could not take them.
“I was three over through four and hanging on after that. Golf is hard sometimes. A birdie at the last was nice. There are some low scores to be had here. That is what I will need to get back in this tournament.”
Donald finished the day in a tie for 109th. At least he got around. A tropical storm forced the suspension of play in the afternoon with half the 156-man field still to finish their opening rounds. Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat posted the lowest score of the day, 65, to lead by one on seven under par.
Latest in Sport
FA Cup: Arsenal v Everton match preview
Ashley Cole and Luke Shaw rise to the bait to deny they are the rumoured 'gay England footballer'
West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United: Is Wayne Rooney really in Robin van Persie’s way at United?
Robin van Persie: Manchester United manager David Moyes a 'little bit surprised' after striker plays 90 minutes for Netherlands day after being sick
Chelsea v Tottenham: Tim Sherwood claims the pressure is off as Spurs look to end dreadful record at Stamford Bridge
- 1 To those who can’t see the point of International Women’s Day: you are the very reason it exists
- 2 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 4 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast