• Honda Classic, Round One

Woods and McIlroy lukewarm in Florida

ESPN staff
February 28, 2013
Tiger Woods' putting was a touch off, as was his short game © Getty Images

Honda Classic leaderboard

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy both hit low-key rounds of 70 to finish on evens after the first round of the Honda Classic in Florida. Six shots ahead of the world's top two players on the leaderboard is Columbian Camilo Villegas - who won the tournament in 2010.

Tiger Woods' last round at the PGA National, on the final day of the 2012 edition, was an eight-under 62 but a delayed continuation of that form never seemed likely as the world No. 2 bogeyed two of his first four holes.

In cool conditions, Woods played a steady round from there on but he repeatedly made life difficult for himself with an imprecise short game which often left him with considerable work to do with the putter.

Life on the greens was not much fun either for the 14-time major champion, and he played 32 putts in his round. He missed a six-foot putt for par on his first hole, the 10th, and then missed a 12-foot opportunity for a birdie at the next hole. Further chances were spurned at holes numbered 15, 17 and one, but he did roll in a 20-footer at the seventh hole.

"I hit good putts," Woods said. "I was getting fooled on the grain; some of it was snagging, some I would blow right through the top side. The green speeds are a little bit faster than they were [on Wednesday], but it's an adjustment I need to make."

Rory McIlroy's putting, like Woods', was well below the standards of a world No. 1 and his round was summed up when he missed his last putt for par at the 18th.

That bogey gave him a 70 round and drew him level with Woods. The Northern Irishman looked like he would edge his Nike stablemate when he saved par thanks to an excellent bunker shot at the 17th but he could not repeat the trick after he hit the fringe on the final green.

His form this time last year was radically different as he carded four rounds in the 60s en route to overall victory.

After 12 holes the 23-year-old had still not made a putt from more than five feet. His first bogey came at the par-four sixth hole when he missed the green from the rough. He cancelled that out with a neat approach shot at the ninth, meaning he could drop the ball in from four yards. Then he added another birdie at the 14th only to relinquish his one-under on the final hole.

Justin Rose looked in good condition and was at the head of the leaderboard at five-under through 12. But he bogeyed three of his last four holes to finish on two-under leaving Lee Westwood as the top European player of the round after he carded a 66.

Former champion Camilo Villegas looked like he would finish with a solid four-under but shot an unexpected eagle at the 18th take the lead on six-under.

Villegas has only won three PGA Tour titles and was unspectacular in the first eight holes but picked up three birdies on the back nine before his final-hole exploits.

Branden Grace was well deserving of a tied second placing after he birdied all three holes of the PGA National's famous Bear Trap stretch from numbers 15-17, and for good measure he sunk another at the 18th.

The three holes are one of the hardest sections of any course on the PGA Tour and having the measure of them bodes well for the South African's title hopes. One of the crucial component's of McIlroy's victory here last year was that he was three-under overall after four rounds for the Bear Trap.

Boo Weekley recovered from back-to-back bogeys in his opening two holes to hit five birdies in an eight-hole stretch to finish at four-under.

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