Woods impeccable at Pebble

No Bogies, six birdies, a new record for a Pebble Beach US Open and who do you think did that? Tiger of course...

Martin Park
Fri, 16 Jun 2000

It was a bold prediction at the start of the day as Butch Harmon prepared for his commentary slot with Sky Sports.

Harmon scribbled a quick note on a piece of paper, nobody saw it…until after the event. The event…Tiger Woods reducing Pebble Beach, a notoriously difficult course at the best of times, to a 6-under par 65 on day one of the US Open Championship.

On the piece of paper, Harmon wrote…"Tiger Woods…6-under par 65…no bogies"

And that is exactly what he did, playing golf of the highest calibre around the 81 year old course in Monterrey, California.

Woods' round, his best ever in six Open appearances and the lowest ever at Pebble Beach during an Open (Gil Morgan's 66 in 1992 was the previous best), left him one stroke ahead of Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez.

And it seemed that he was having a spot of luck with the weather too. Woods found the refuge of the clubhouse and posted his score as the fog rolled in from the Hawaiian Islands, blanketing Carmel Bay and forcing a stoppage in play. Only Twenty-seven groups had completed their first round at the time of the suspension, with 25 groups still left on the course.

Woods turned at two under par, and with a birdie on the 10th followed it up with consecutive birdies at the 13th and 14th. At the par-5 14th, Woods pitched his ball from the greenside rough to within a couple of feet.

Playing the 18th hole in fog, all the way along the coastline and struggling to see his ball, Woods hit his drive long and straight. His three wood approach found the greenside bunker and his sand play had seemed to improve bundles as he got up and down for a 6-under total.

"Well, it's definitely one of the better rounds I've played," Woods said. "(The course) played difficult today. The fairways were fast; the fairways were running. And you can run out of room on some of these doglegs if you don't shape your shot properly."

But there is great hope from Europe as our friend 'The Mechanic', Miguel Angel Jimenez tendered his spot for another showdown with Tiger if he maintains his fast pace into the weekend. And Nick Faldo showed signs of a dramatic recovery to post a four under total before he was forced off the course due to the fog. (See separate story).

Jimenez, who lost in a playoff to Tiger at the WGC American Express Strokeplay Championship at Valderrama last year, looked a likely prospect for a Major yesterday as he reeled off three consecutive birdies starting at the fifth to go five under and take a brief lead. He made a superb par save at the eighth by draining a long putt, but gave a shot back at the ninth when his approach found the traditional US Open four inch rough just off the green.

Jimenez birdied the 11th to get back to five under, bogeyed the 15th and got the shot back with a birdie at the closing hole for a 66, one behind Tiger.

Hal Sutton, this year's winner at The Players Championship, looked like he might run away and hide from the field when he sprinted out of the blocks on day one. He holed out from 136 yards away with an 8-iron to record an eagle on the first hole. It's the first time in the four Opens played at Pebble Beach that anyone had eagled the first hole.

Sutton would have had an eagle-eagle start had the second hole not been changed from a par-5 to a par-4. Still, a three at the 484-yard hole gave him a birdie and the 1983 PGA Champion added birdies on the fourth, seventh and 12th holes. He bogeyed the difficult par-4 eighth. But he stumbled home, including a bogey at the 18th, to shoot a 69, four back of Woods.

1995 US Open champion Corey Pavin (10 holes), Kirk Triplett (13 holes) and Loren Roberts (seven holes) were at three under.

Besides Sutton, the group at two under included Rocco Mediate and Angel Cabrera. Others on the course at two under included Tom Watson, the 1982 Open champion here at Pebble Beach, and three-time Open champ Hale Irwin. Both had completed nine holes.

Phil Mickelson, the runner-up last year to Payne Stewart, birdied the 18th to close with an even-par 71.

1 WOODS, Tiger -6 F
2 JIMENEZ, Miguel Angel -5 F
3 HUSTON, John -4 F
3 FALDO, Nick -4 (13)
5 CLAMPETT, Bobby -3 (F)
5 TRIPLETT, Kirk -3 (13)
5 PAVIN, Corey -3 (13)
5 ROBERTS, Loren -3 (7)
9 SUTTON, Hal -2 F
9 CABRERA, Angel -2 F
9 MEDIATE, Rocco -2 F
9 IRWIN, Hale -2 (9)
13 BJORN, Thomas -1 F
13 CHAMBLEE, Brandel -1 F
13 OLAZABAL, Jose Maria -1 F
13 COSTON, Jeff -1 (15)
13 BRISKY, Mike -1 (13)
13 ELS, Ernie -1 (10)
13 WATSON, Tom -1 (9)
13 GOYDOS, Paul -1 (8)
13 GAY, Brian -1 (4)
13 FRYATT, Edward -1 (3)
13 SANCHEZ, Javier -1 (3)
24 WESTWOOD, Lee Even F
24 MICKELSON, Phil Even F
24 CAMPBELL, Michael Even F
24 LEHMAN, Tom Even F
24 AZINGER, Paul Even F
24 PARRY, Craig Even (12)
24 COUPLES, Fred Even (9)
24 MONTGOMERIE, Colin Even (7)
24 NORMAN, Greg Even (7)
24 SINGH, Vijay Even (7)
24 IMADA, Ryuji Even (4)
24 WHITMAN, Ed Even (4)
24 COOK, John Even (4)
24 QUIGLEY, Brett Even (3)
24 TROY, Mike Even



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