By Andrew Both
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (Reuters) – Tiger Woods carded his worst score at a U.S. Open on Thursday after an eight-over-par 78 in the first round at Shinnecock Hills left him nine strokes off the lead.
In tough, windy conditions Woods got off to a horrible start with a triple-bogey seven at the first hole and later added a four-putt double at the par-four 13th.
His previous worst round at a U.S. Open was a 77 in the third round at Oakland Hills in 1996.
The 42-year-old will now struggle to make the cut and has a mountain to climb if he is to end his decade-long major drought, stretching back to the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.
“I didn’t putt well today. I drove it pretty darn good for most of the day, just never took advantage of the opportunities,” said Woods.
“It’s tough out there, but you shouldn’t make two doubles and a triple. My game plan was not to make any others (bogey or worse) and I made three of them.”
After finding the fairway with a nice drive at the par-four first, Woods hit a knock-down shot into the wind but misjudged it slightly, his ball bounding over the crowned green and down the slope beyond.
He was left with an extremely tough pitch and failed to get the ball up onto the green. It took him two further attempts to reach the putting surface.
While a bogey at the second left him reeling at four-over he did not panic.
“All I had to do after that start was shoot even par over the next 16 holes and I’d be just fine,” he said.
Woods managed to go even par through the next 10 holes but undid that good work by four-putting from 40 feet at the 13th.
“I was worried about running the (first) putt by, left it short, blocked the next one, then blocked it again,” he said.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)