Woods trails Honda leader Villegas by six shots

PALM BEACH GARDENS - Tiger Woods, who saved par with a barefoot shot in water, and Rory McIlroy fired even-par 70s at the Honda Classic on Thursday that left the world’s top two golfers six shots back of first-round leader Camilo Villegas.
Tiger Woods hit a 200-yard shot out of a water hazard after finding his ball. Net photo.
Tiger Woods hit a 200-yard shot out of a water hazard after finding his ball. Net photo.

Leaderboard
* -6: C Villegas (Col)
* -5: B Grace (SA), G DeLaet (Can)
* -4: L Westwood (Eng), B Weekley, S O’Hair
* Selected others:
-3 G McDowell (NI)
-2 J Rose (Eng);
Level R McIlroy (NI), T Woods
+1 M Kaymer (Ger)

PALM BEACH GARDENS - Tiger Woods, who saved par with a barefoot shot in water, and Rory McIlroy fired even-par 70s at the Honda Classic on Thursday that left the world’s top two golfers six shots back of first-round leader Camilo Villegas.

Colombian Villegas capped a flawless six-under-par 64 with an eagle at the par-five 18th that left him one stroke ahead of South Africa’s Branden Grace, Canada’s Graham DeLaet and Americans Rickie Fowler and Robert Streb.

Villegas, who won here in 2010 but has struggled over the past 18 months, was one-under through 12 holes at PGA National but grabbed the outright lead with a scorching finish that saw him pick up five strokes over his final six holes.

World number one McIlroy had a similar day to Woods with a pair of birdies and bogeys and remained hopeful of getting in the frame for the weekend.

“If I had been playing well or playing the way I know I can there is something in the mid-sixties out there,” said the 23-year-old Northern Irishman.

Woods, who started on the back nine, had a rough start with bogeys on his first and fourth holes but recovered with two birdies on the back nine in unusually chilly and overcast conditions for Florida.

The 14-times major winner bogeyed the par-four 10th hole and added another at the par-four 13th before recovering with a birdie on the par-five third hole.

On the par-four sixth, Woods hooked his tee shot into the water hazard but managed to save par after going barefoot, putting on his rain pants and playing out of the water.

Villegas has not won on the PGA Tour since winning the Honda Classic in 2010 and the 31-year-old looked at home hitting 10 of 14 fairways and 14 greens in regulation, needing just 27 putts, including nine one-putts.

Britain’s Paul Casey had a nightmare round that saw him finish eight-over 78 after a round that included a birdie, seven bogeys and double-bogey.

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