Sunday, Nov 23, 2014

Stewart Cink in control, Tiger Woords cards a 72 at Torrey Pines

Tiger Woods examines his putt while waiting for his playing partners on the 18th green of the South Course at Torrey Pines during the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open (AP) Tiger Woods examines his putt while waiting for his playing partners on the 18th green of the South Course at Torrey Pines during the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open (AP)
Reuters | San Diego | Posted: January 24, 2014 2:59 pm

Stewart Cink, seeking his first PGA Tour title in five years, charged into a one-shot lead at the Farmers Insurance Open on Thursday as Phil Mickelson also moved into early contention despite nursing a troublesome back.

Mickelson, who frequently winced at the top of his backswing because of muscle pain down his side, carded a three-under 69 on the easier North Course while seven-times champion Tiger Woods opened with an even 72 on the brutal South layout.

Cink, who has not triumphed anywhere since his playoff victory over Tom Watson in the 2009 British Open at Turnberry, fired a flawless 64 on the North to seize control of the PGA Tour event at picturesque Torrey Pines outside San Diego.

The 40-year-old Cink birdied four of his last six holes to end a mainly sunny day which began with a fog delay of 30 minutes one stroke in front of fellow American Gary Woodland, who also started out on the North.

Australians Jason Day and Marc Leishman, South African Tyrone van Aswegen and American Jim Herman opened with 66s while American Pat Perez, with a 67, was the only player in the top 16 who played on the more difficult South layout.

Tour veteran Cink was delighted with his opening round, despite totalling just one birdie on the four par-five holes.

“If you drive it well on the North Course, you’re going to have birdie opportunities and I drove it very well most of the day,” the tall American told Golf Channel.

“It was just a different game from the short grass out there. You’ve got some shorter holes and I took advantage of a lot of those holes … the par-fives, I didn’t play those very well. It was a very calm, very relaxed kind of round.”

Cink, a six-times winner on the PGA Tour, knows he will face a very different challenge in Friday’s second round on the South Course, which played almost four strokes harder than the North on Thursday.

“It’s definitely a tale of two golf courses here,” he smiled. “The South we all know is one of the most difficult courses on the tour and it pretty much requires all facets of the game to be on.

“I have been playing fairly well this year  so I am looking forward to the challenge. It’s a big golf course to really test yourself and see where you stand this time of year.”

Playing tough

Woods, competing in his first tournament of the year, offset two birdies with two bogeys on a South layout playing tougher than usual because of firm conditions, narrow fairways and continued…

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