Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Golf: Woods Sits 6 Back in Return to Riviera

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Golf: Woods Sits 6 Back in Return to Riviera

Article excerpt

The guy who grew up 40 miles away, first played Riviera as a teenager and was out of golf with a bad back returned Thursday and shared the lead at the Genesis Open in Los Angeles.

That would be Patrick Cantlay, not Tiger Woods.

And the biggest difference was that hardly anyone saw it.

Cantlay, the No. 1 amateur in the world when he was at UCLA, birdied all the par 5s and kept it smart the rest of the way around a firm Riviera Country Club course for a 5-under 66 to share the lead with Tony Finau.

Woods, who grew up in Cypress and made his PGA Tour debut at Riviera when he was 16, played this event for the first time in 12 years. He lost a tee shot in a eucalyptus tree and made double bogey as part of a rugged start, and then settled in with a series of key putts for a 72.

Finau started with four birdies in five holes and finished with one last birdie for his 66.

An unusually large crowd for Thursday at Riviera was out early to watch Woods, with fans standing six-deep around some of the greens. There still were not enough people to help locate his tee shot on the par-5 11th hole, presumably swallowed up by the tree.

Woods is playing Riviera for the ninth time as a pro, the most of any PGA Tour course without ever winning. His expectations are tempered now at age 42 and returning from his fourth back surgery. His game isn't sharp, though it's moving in the right direction. He made five birdies despite hitting only seven greens in regulation, and he recovered from being 2 over after three holes.

Cantlay played with Jordan Spieth (71) and fellow UCLA alum Kevin Chappell (69), and as they finished in the twilight, the crowd had thinned considerably. They missed a clean round by Cantlay, whose only bogey came on the par-3 fourth hole when he came up short of the green and missed a 10-foot putt. Otherwise, he was smart, simple and confident.

Woods played with Justin Thomas (69) and Rory McIlroy (71).

ELSEWHERE

Sullivan trails Oman Open leaders by 2 * Andy Sullivan showed signs of turning around his fortunes by producing a superb back nine to start the Oman Open with a 5-under-par 67 on Thursday. …

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