Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy tamed the Aronimik Golf Club with an astounding opening round of 62, both posting just three bogeys in total with a totally different preparation style.
While Tiger took rest on the Pro-Am day for the first time in a very long time, courtesy him going back to his Scotty Cameron putter which has been with him for 13 majors win out of a total of 14 and Rory went on to shoot 9-under on the same day, gaining all the confidence and putting it in use on Thursday.
“I’ve hit hundreds of millions of putts with it,” he said. “I’ve had it since 1999. My body just remembers it. It just feels very familiar to me.”
Facts about Tiger’s round
Tiger was 6-under on the back nine shooting 29, matching his career-best back nine round of 29 at the 1996 Walt Disney World/Oldsmobile Classic, which he eventually won as his second PGA Tour title, another facts with his round were this is his ninth career-round of 62 and second career-low opening round, so can we say he is on the right path?
He shot 28 on East Lake’s front nine in the second round of the 2007 TOUR Championship. He won that tournament by eight shots to put an exclamation point on his FedExCup-winning season. A win at Aronimink would give him a golden opportunity to become the FedExCup’s first three-time champion.
He needed just 27 putts on the rolling greens of this classic Donald Ross design that was recently restored by architect Gil Hanse. Woods didn’t miss a putt from inside 10 feet – including all four of his attempts from 4 to 8 feet – and holed three putts from outside 10 feet.
It’s the first time he has shared the lead, after any round, since the second round of the 2015 Wyndham Championship, where he finished T-10.
“I gave myself good looks. I hit good putts. They just didn’t go in, which is fine,” Woods said.
Rory McIlroy’s fiery round
Wednesday’s are oddly not McIlroy’s days, he is always seen moving up the board on Friday or Saturdays of the competitions.
“My stroke average in pro-ams is probably about 75.7,” he acknowledged.
But this was different, McIlroy played his final nine holes at the Pro-Am at 8-under 27, including a stretch of seven consecutive birdies, which we saw even at the opening round where he sat with five consecutive birdies from 1st through 5th holes. And that 23-hole stretch over two days in which he shot 17 under?
“It’s a golf course that just seems to fit my eye,” McIlroy said. “I like the greens. You can work the ball in off the slopes. You got to hit it pretty wild to start missing fairways. So if you get your ball in the short stuff, you can get it going.”
McIlroy’s 62 was his lowest round of the year by two strokes and is just one off his career low. But through 14 holes, it looked like he was headed for the record books. Asked if he was disappointed not to have shot 59, McIlroy could only smile.