AAP Golf

Woods chases PGA history, Leishman in mix

By AAP Newswire

Tiger Woods is off to a solid start in his quest to rewrite US PGA Tour history at the Farmers Insurance Open at California's Torrey Pines.

Woods has returned to the San Diego course where he was won eight times, including the 2008 US Open, hoping to earn an 83rd US PGA Tour win and take the all-time record.

The 15-time major winner gave himself a good chance at doing so with a three-under-par 69 at Torrey Pines' North course to sit three shots behind the lead after round one.

Unheralded Denmark golfer Sebastian Cappelen shot a 66 (South course) to share the first-round lead at six under with Keegan Bradley (North).

Superstar Rory McIlroy headlines nine players tied at five under and the Northern Irishman can go to world No.1 with a victory this week.

Marc Leishman (North) and Cameron Percy (South) are the top Australians at four under.

Woods' 69 is his best opening round at the event since 2013, when he won a record seventh Farmers title.

The 44-year-old - who won his last official PGA Tour start and led the American team to a Presidents Cup victory at Royal Melbourne as a playing captain last month - said it felt good to make his 2020 debut with a promising round.

"Oh, I definitely was feeling it. I missed the competition," an excited Woods said.

Woods made two front-nine bogeys but rattled off three birdies on the closing side.

He hit eight of 14 fairways on Thursday and 13 of 18 greens in regulation.

"I felt like I fought back (from the sloppy start) and now there's a lot of positives heading into the South Course," Woods said.

Having won the Masters last April for his 15th major and the Zozo Championship in October, Woods' hopes of PGA Tour win No.83 are well and truly alive.

"It would be great," Woods said of the record. "But I also won a Junior World (Championship) here, too."

Meanwhile, secondary tour graduate Rhein Gibson is next best of the Australians at three under, with recent Sony Open winner Cameron Smith a shot further back.

Aaron Baddeley (one under), two-time event winner Jason Day (one over), Matt Jones (three over), Cameron Davis and John Senden (both four over) round out the Australian contingent.