World Challenge: Nick Watney leads by two after opening 67 at Tiger Woods' event

Last Updated: 30/11/12 7:13pm

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Nick Watney: Erased memories of last year with opening 67

Nick Watney: Erased memories of last year with opening 67

Sky Bet

Nick Watney's five-under 67 gave him a two-shot lead after the opening round of the World Challenge event.

The American started with eight straight pars before a birdie at the ninth sparked him into life.

He added four more birdies on the way home - at the 13th, 14th, 16th and 18th - to complete the only bogey-free round at the 18-man invitational tournament, which is hosted by Tiger Woods at Sherwood County Club in Thousand Oaks, California.

First round leaderboard

(US unless stated)
-5 N Watney
-3 K Bradley
-3 J Furyk
-3 G McDowell (NI)
-2 W Simpson
-2 B Van Pelt
-2 T Woods

Click here for collated scores

Watney's form was in stark contrast to his performance at the same tournament last year when he finished dead last on 11-over-par for his four rounds.

Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell, who won this event two years ago, made a promising start with a 69 to sit alongside Americans Keegan Bradley and Jim Furyk in a share of second place on three under.

And world number two Woods is himself well placed after trading three birdies with a solitary bogey in a round of 70.

Bo Van Pelt and Webb Simpson matched Woods' effort to make it an American trio on two under.

Bradley was pleased to shoot a good round a day after golf's ruling bodies said they planned to outlaw the practice of anchoring the putter, which he employs, by 2016.

Asked if that gave him extra motivation, Bradley said: "Yeah, absolutely. I've been catching such flak on Twitter and these other places, it would be good to kind of quiet them a little bit.

"I had a guy yesterday telling me to send my application in to Burger King for 2016. I feel like the USGA (United States Golf Association) has really put an X on our back and I don't know if that's exactly fair.

"When we started putting with it (the belly putter), they were legal, and they still are. It's a sticky situation and I hope people can see through that. It always feels good to play well but this feels better almost."

Woods said: "I didn't hit the ball very good today but made a few good par putts to keep the round going and I kept myself in the tournament. I could have easily shot myself out of the tournament but I kept myself in it."

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