PALM BEACH GARDENS, Florida (Reuters) - Tiger Woods had his bare feet in water to save par en route to an even-par 70 in the opening round of the Honda Classic on Thursday that left him four shots back of the clubhouse leaders.
The 14-times major winner, who started on the back nine at PGA National, got off to a rough start with bogeys on his first and fourth holes but recovered with two birdies on the back nine in unusually chilly and overcast conditions for Florida.
Boo Weekley, Sean O‘Hair, Dustin Johnson and shared the early clubhouse league with four-under rounds of 66.
Woods, wearing a pullover, bogeyed the par-four 10th hole and added another at the par-four 13th before recovering with a birdie on the par-five third hole.
On the par-four sixth, Woods hooked his tee shot into the water hazard but managed to save par after going bare foot, putting on his rain pants and playing out of the water.
“It was only half submerged so I could play some sort of explosion shot and get it back in the fairway,” said Woods, who used a nine-iron out of the water.
“I wasn’t trying to advance it very far just get it back on the fairway and give myself some sort of wedge shot in there - which I did and got up and down.”
It might have been uncomfortable for Woods but his decision to get wet saved his round, particularly when he followed the par with a birdie on the par-three seventh.
“If I didn’t get that up‑and‑down, I am looking at a six, three‑over, and all of a sudden I flip it, make par there and birdie the next,” said Woods. “Could easily have been three and all of a sudden I‘m even.”
Woods needed 32 putts in his round but appeared unconcerned with his performance on the greens.
“I played really well today, I hit a lot of good shots, but I didn’t make anything,” Woods told reporters.
”Just a ton of good putts that burned the edge and either the green didn’t take it or I snagged it and I never really made anything until number seven.
“It was a pretty boring day on the greens and I hit a lot of good shots.”
Defending champion Rory McIlroy was even-par after three holes.
Editing by Frank Pingue