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Westwood surges as Tiger struggles at Valhalla

ESPN staff
August 7, 2014
Lee Westwood enjoyed a superb opening round at Valhalla © Getty Images

Tiger Woods laboured to a round of 74 at the US PGA Championship today and sits nine shots behind joint clubhouse leaders Lee Westwood, Ryan Palmer and Kevin Chappell at Valhalla Golf Club.

Woods, a four-time winner of the event, was visibly annoyed with the way he played as he picked up four bogeys, counteracted by just one birdie - a stark contrast to world No.1 Rory McIlroy, who completed a remarkable comeback with a string of back-nine birdies to put himself in contention.

The 38 year old struggled off the tee and sent his ball into the galleries on numerous occasions while his putter was kept on ice throughout. Woods will need a captain's pick if he is to play in the Ryder Cup next month but he will have done little to enamour himself in the eyes of Tom Watson.

"It wasn't very good," Woods said. "A lot of bad shots and I never got a putt to the hole. I hit all my lines but just for some reason I thought they were going to be a little bit quicker, and I didn't make the adjustment well enough. I had plenty of looks to turn my round around and then post something even par, even under par."

On his limited practice preceding the tournament, Woods said: "I have the same opportunity as everybody else and just didn't get it done. I had my swing dialled in on the range. Unfortunately, I didn't carry it to the golf course.

"I have to get to under par by the end of tomorrow," Woods added. Or end of my second round. If we get storms, it could be Saturday. If I get under par for two rounds that will be right in the ball game."

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Westwood's back nine started poorly with a double bogey on his 10th hole but he was 5-under for his closing six holes, shooting a round of round of 65, 6-under. After failing to make the cut at the Open and US Open, it was a return to form for the 41 year old.

Westwood said: "I played very well last Sunday and I wanted to keep that going. I kept my practice very low-key over the first three days, only played nine holes each day, and I was ready to go this morning and played well.

"It wasn't that easy out there, you've still go to hit fairways and there was a bit of breeze swirling around - they certainly put the pins out there being wary of low scores. You had to play well to shoot a low score."

In contrast, outsider Chappell had a steady round and chugged along with six birdies and no bogeys on the card.

Many thought Ian Poulter would need to rely on a captain's pick from Paul McGinley in order to tee it up at the Ryder Cup but the Englishman has taken the matter into his own hands after a round of 68, 3-under.

Poulter said: "A couple of disappointing bogies in the first-half but overall I think I played very solid and gave myself plenty of chances.

"My body was fatigued before coming into this one so I'm trying to manage it as well as I can but I feel strong right now."

Jim Furyk's recent run of good form continued as he shot a round of 66 and the man with one of the strangest swings in golf sits one behind the leaders, along with Edoardo Molinari.

Phil Mickelson, who won the competition in 2005, had a sluggish start which he put down to nerves but three birdies on the back nine left him on 2-under.

Rickie Fowler finished second in the Open and US Open this year and the 25 year old fired again, finishing 2-under.

Justin Rose, Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer all finished on 1-under while Adam Scott didn't get going all day, finishing on level-par.

American youngster Jordan Spieth also finished level-par while Graeme McDowell struggled to a round of 73, 2-over.

However, spare a thought for Angel Cabrera, who finished with a miserable first round of 82, which puts him way down the leaderboard at 11-over.

US PGA Championship leaderboard

Tiger Woods was visibly frustrated during his first round © Getty Images
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