MELBOURNE, Australia — Tiger Woods hit the ball as well as he has all year, except on the greens.
In his final title defense of a forgettable year, Woods opened the Australian Masters with a 2-under 69 and was four shots behind Thursday at Victoria Golf Club.
Woods missed only two greens in regulation, both times saving par from a bunker. But he took 19 putts on his outward nine, and had to hole a 7-foot par putt on the final hole to avoid his second three-putt bogey.
Alistair Presnell and Adam Bland shot 6-under 65s in the morning, and Daniel Gaunt matched them in the afternoon. They were one shot clear of a group that included PGA Tour winner Andre Stolz.
Geoff Ogilvy, who was a member at Victoria as a teenager, opened with a 72.
|Lorena Ochoa Invitational|
GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Cristie Kerr shot a tournament-record 8-under 64 to take a three-stroke lead over Stacy Lewis in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, while Ochoa opened with a 74 on her home course in her first LPGA Tour start since retiring in April.
The third-ranked Kerr birdied nine of the first 15 holes at Guadalajara Country Club, but dropped a stroke on the par-3 17th. She won the LPGA State Farm Classic and LPGA Championship in consecutive starts in June.
Japanese star Ai Miyazato. U.S. Women’s Open champion Paula Creamer, South Korea’s Na Yeon Choi and Australia’s Katherine Hull shot 68s, and South Koreans Hee Young Park and In-Kyung Kim had 69s.
Michelle Wie, the winner last year for her first LPGA Tour title, withdrew after the round because of a back injury. She shot a 78.
|Children’s Miracle Network Classic|
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Chris Stroud shot a 10-under 62 on Disney World’s Palm Course to take a three-stroke lead in the PGA Tour’s season-ending Children’s Miracle Network Classic.
Roland Thatcher opened with a 65, and rookie star Rickie Fowler was a stroke back at 66 along with Jerry Kelly, Cameron Percy, Tim Herron and Brenden Pappas. They also played the easier Palm Course.
Chris Tidland opened with a 67 on the Magnolia Course, the site of the final two rounds.
The 21-year-old Fowler had eight birdies and two bogeys and showed no signs of jet lag after returning from the HSBC Champions in Shanghai. He led for most of the day until Stroud moved atop the leaderboard with 10 birdies before dusk. Fourteen players were still on the course when play was suspended because of darkness.
The top 125 on the money list after the tournament will earn full 2011 exemptions. The next 25 will receive conditional status.
SINGAPORE — Phil Mickelson opened with a 4-under 67 in the Singapore Open, leaving him four strokes behind clubhouse leaders Chris Wood and Kim Bi-o in the rain-soaked tournament.
Only 96 of the 204 players were able to comple play after thunderstorms delayed play for more than four hours. Ignacio Garrido also had a share off the lead at 8 under with seven holes left.
The tournament is sanctioned by the European and Asian tours.