Tiger Woods shoots 69 at Riviera, gives Kobe Bryant tribute

Tiger Woods

He just couldn't quite sustain it.

"It's ironic having those two numbers, " Woods said Thursday after the first round of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club.

It was a disappointing back nine after so much good over the first nine holes. He bogeyed twice on the back nine, including on 18. "It was a nice way to start", Woods said.

"Made a couple loose swings and made a couple good saves on the back nine for par, but just wasn't able to get any birdies on the back nine".

Woods is one of several golfers in this week's field paying tribute to Bryant.

Shot Tracker data putt the putt at 24 feet 8 inches - the numbers nearly eerily invoking the memory of Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash on January 26.

Austin Johnson, who carries the bag for his older brother Dustin Johnson, with the pin flag on the eighth hole dedicated to the late Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant at the Riviera Country Club in LA.

"It's ironic, isn't it?"

"It was a fun, fun day out there playing Riviera", said the nine-time PGA Tour victor, who opened with back-to-back birdies at the 10th and 11th. And then No. 8, happened to hit one in there close and had a nice little kick in there for birdie.

"You know, no matter what we do, I think for a while we're going to always remember Kobe and what he meant, and especially here in SoCal (southern California) and the entire sports world". "I've been doing this for a very long time", he said.

Eight shots off the lead when he finished, Woods seems unlikely to get that longed-for first win at a course where he debuted as a 16-year-old amateur in 1992. "I was one over through seven holes, missed a couple of short ones early on and then went through a stretch of missing a lot of greens".

"I feel that part of my game helps me stay in rounds, and putting like that gives you a little bit of momentum going to the next tee".

His first bogey came at the par-4 12th, where his approach rolled just over the green.

Woods stepped up to the tee on No. 8 at 3-under par. The nine-time PGA Tour champion was bogey-free as he made seven birdies to top the leaderboard ahead of Lee Kyoung-hoon, Russell Henley, Wyndham Clark, Adam Schenk and Harold Varner III.

Woods has yet to confirm his playing commitments in the build-up to the defence of his Masters title in April, although he is expected to play in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill before heading to TPC Sawgrass for The Players Championship the following week.

Woods is searching for career win No. 83 on the PGA Tour, which would break his tie with Sam Snead at the top of the all-time wins list.



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