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Tiger's all set to bare teeth, insists Day

Lining it up: Rory McIlroy weighs up his options during his first round at the WGC-Bridgestone
Lining it up: Rory McIlroy weighs up his options during his first round at the WGC-Bridgestone

By Brian Keogh

Jason Day reckons Tiger Woods is poised to "go on a tear" again after the Californian opened his bid for a ninth WGC-Bridgestone Invitational title with a 66 in Akron.

While Rory McIlroy looks to be easing ominously into top form as he opened with a bogey-free 65, Woods impressed Day with a four-under-par opening round as he chases yet another win at Firestone Country Club.

"He looks like he's close to going on a tear," Day said after carding a five-under 65 alongside Woods that left him tied with Ulsterman McIlroy, just two shots behind clubhouse leader Kyle Stanley.

"His iron play is unbelievable. They are on line most of the time, and if it's not on line, it's always pin-high.

"It's incredible the distance control he has out there, and if he can get a few on the fairway, he will have more opportunities coming into the greens."

Stanley made eight birdies and just one bogey in a seven-under 63 to lead by a shot in the clubhouse from Patrick Cantlay with McIlroy and Day two behind alongside Australian Marc Leishman, American Luke List and India's Anirban Lahiri on five-under.

But while Day and McIlroy both used their power and some excellent putting to slay the receptive South Course, Woods had enough with his B game to keep in touch.

The 14-time Major winner hit just seven fairways but still found 13 greens and had eight single putts with the pick of them a 50-footer for birdie from just off the 18th green that drew a huge roar from the crowd.

His monster putt helped him turn in three-under 32 and while he followed birdie twos at the fifth and seventh with a bogey at the ninth, he was pleased to grind out a score without playing his best.

"I thought a good score would be 67 or so," Woods said.

"But it looks like everyone is taking advantage of it.

"It is soft and it's so hot the ball is flying forever."

Asked how far he is from hitting top form, Woods added: "Well, it's nice to shoot rounds like I did at The Open and I did today; rounds where I might not be feeling the best but I am able to post a score.

"It was a bit of a grind today, I fought hard to shoot the score I shot and really felt like I putted well."

After his bogey-free 65, McIlroy said: "Yeah, it was good. I mean honestly we couldn't have got it easier this morning, no wind, very soft - you had to hit very poor shots to get it off line or to miss greens.

"Hopefully it firms up a little bit for the rest of the week but it was a day where you needed to take advantage of the conditions and I felt like I did that pretty well.

"I'm starting to drive the ball really well and there are a few tee shots out here if you can carry it over 300 yards it's a big advantage on the rest of the field.

"I just feel like this week is an ideal time to work on a few things (ahead of next week's US PGA Championship).

"It's a great range, you get four rounds and sort of have a free run at trying things out. I felt I brought some of the stuff from the range onto the golf course and just have to work on it as the week goes on."

Belfast Telegraph


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