• World Challenge

Johnson leads by one at World Challenge

ESPN staff
December 6, 2013
Zach Johnson was one of just five players to break par © Getty Images

Zach Johnson shot a five-under 67 to take a one-shot lead over Matt Kuchar at the World Challenge in Thousand Oaks, California.

Johnson birdied four of the five par-fives at Sherwood Country Club. He and Kuchar were among only five players of the 18-man field to break par.

Another was tournament host Tiger Woods, who finished with a round of 71 that was bookended by missed putts - the first falling short for par, before he fluffed a four-foot birdie putt on the 18th.

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Kuchar, who played with Woods after their partnership at the Presidents Cup, birdied the final hole.

Hunter Mahan and Bubba Watson, among seven players yet to win this year, both finished on 70.

"A highlight that we're looking into next year is trying to play those holes a little bit better," Johnson said of his par-five scoring. "I don't know what I did that today. I hit it close. I had good shots in there with the proper spin, nothing more than that. But you've got to take advantage of them. You've got five of them. The thing is ... one errant shot, you're staring a six right in the face, if not more. There's a lot of penal areas.

"I did everything decent. Just a real solid day all around. I was aggressive when I needed to be aggressive, and I was conservative when I needed to be conservative. It's nothing more than a decent start."

Woods said: "I made a few mistakes today. I also hit a couple of good shots that ended up in some interesting spots. That can happen out there. I shot about the score ... maybe could have gotten one or two more out of it."

A bogey-bogey-double bogey finish left Steve Stricker with a 75. Jordan Spieth was last in the field with a 77, while Jason Day - who won the individual and team titles at the World Cup two weeks ago in his native Australia - made 76.

Rory McIlroy, with girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki looking on, hit 73 following his maiden win of the year at the Australian Open last week. Playing alongside him was defending champion Graeme McDowell, who went one shot better.

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