Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Jon Rahm all got off to a strong start at the Farmers Insurance Open on Thursday. The trio were all under par after the first round at Torrey Pines. Rahm and McIlroy are up near the first-round leaders, Sebastian Cappelen and Keegan Bradley.

Tiger Woods Farmers Insurance Open
Tiger Woods shot a 3-under 69 at Torrey Pines in the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open. (Image: San Diego Union-Tribune)

McIlroy, who is the No. 2 ranked player in the Official World Golf Rankings, shot a 5-under par 67 on the North Course at Torrey Pines. It is the easier of the two layouts. The Irishman, who is trying to overtake Brooks Koepka for the No. 1 spot, is a stroke behind Cappelen and Bradley.

“I think for first round back of the new year, it went pretty well,” McIlroy told reporters after the day’s play. “Drove the ball particularly well today. Hit some decent iron shots. Felt a little rusty around the greens, gave myself a lot of chances. I hit some good putts that didn’t go in, but overall it was a nice start.”

Woods Happy with First Round

Woods started the new year at the Farmers Insurance Open, his usual debut spot. The 44-year-old might have been a little too enthusiastic. He made a bogey on his second hole. Woods came back to card a 3-under 69 on the North Course that put him in a tie for 21st.

Nerves were a bit of a problem for Woods, but he told reporters after his round that he adjusted quickly.

“I missed the competition, competing and trying to — try and keep everything as calm as I possibly could,” Woods said. “I didn’t do a very good job of that starting out, I made a quick bogey there. But I felt like I fought back and there’s a lot of positives heading into the South Course.”

His playing partner, Rahm, shot a 4-under 68, and the Spaniard told reporters on Thursday that playing with Woods was enjoyable.

“Just watching him do his thing, right? It’s the reason why he’s been the best in the world for so long, and some of the shots he hits,” Rahm said. “And then the atmosphere, right? Every time you play with Tiger or around Tiger, in front or behind, the crowd is just a lot more energetic and it’s definitely a lot more fun.”

South Course Awaits Woods, Rahm, McIlroy

The North Course at Torrey Pines isn’t the pushover it used to be. It is still, however, statistically the easiest of the two that are used in the Farmers Insurance Open. Of the 20 top scores in the first round, four of them were on the South Course.

“It’s going to be playing a little more difficult than the North,” Woods said.

McIlroy said Friday’s round will be a challenge.

“Starting on the North Course here, it presents a little bit of, you know, you feel a bit of pressure to get off to a good start because it’s an easier sort of course,” McIlroy said. “I guess there was a little bit of that, a little bit of that sort of anxiousness going out there. but felt like I settled into the round well.”

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