Justin Rose eagled two of his last five holes to claim the outright lead after the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open in California.
Rose upstaged the long-awaited return of Tiger Woods to the PGA Tour as he carded a superb seven-under 65 on the North Course at Torrey Pines, finishing the day one ahead of golf’s most recent “Mr 59” – Adam Hadwin.
Woods struggled to a 76 on the tougher South Course after dropping five shots in four holes from the 12th, while world No 1 Jason Day – playing alongside Woods – offset five birdies with six bogeys in a mixed-bag of a 73.
But the first day of the second event on the West Coast Swing belonged to Rose, who started with a confident birdie at the 10th before slipping over the card with bogeys at 14 and 15.
The Olympic champion responded with back-to-back birdies to turn in 35, and he picked up another shot at the first before following three good pars with a superb putt for eagle at the long fifth.
Rose added further birdies at six and seven despite missing both fairways, but he then dumped his tee-shot at the par-three eighth into a deep bunker and failed to get up and down.
But the Englishman knocked a solid second to 15 feet at the ninth and converted another putt for eagle to take him top of the leaderboard, and he said: “I have been practising well, so it was nice to get off to a good start and show my range practice pulling through.
“It can be a tricky week here. The South Course is really tough and if you don’t go low on the North Course you are going to feel like you’re behind. But I’ve been making some putts and I drove the ball really well, especially on the par fives.”
Hadwin, fresh off his incredible 13-under 59 at last week’s CareerBuilder Challenge, continued his hot streak with the best round of the day on the South Course – rounding off a 66 with birdies at four of the last six holes.
The Canadian sits alone in second ahead of compatriot Brad Fritsch and the American quarter of Charles Howell III, Gary Woodland, Beau Hossler and Trey Mullinax, who enjoyed a mid-round run of six birdies in eight holes on the North Course.
Woods hit only four fairways and did well to scramble eight pars after an opening bogey, and he got to one under with birdies at 10 and 11 only to drop shots at each of the next three holes.
A snap-hook off the tee at 15 led to a double-bogey six, although he followed another bogey at 17 with a closing birdie to lift his hopes of avoiding a weekend off.
Day mixed four birdies with three bogeys on an erratic front nine and then dropped three shots in five holes from the 12th before matching Woods’ birdie at 18, while Dustin Johnson was also inconsistent in his 72 featuring five birdies and five dropped shots.
Friday’s live second round coverage from Torrey Pines starts earlier than scheduled at 5pm on Sky Sports 4 – your home of golf.