(Reuters) – Tiger Woods made its FedExCup play-offs Thursday after an absence of five years and shot a mediocre level-par 71 in the first round of The Northern Trust to sit five shots behind the leaders in Paramus, New Jersey .
August 23, 2018; Paramus, NJ, USA; Tiger Woods hits the twelfth hole during the first round of The Northern Trust golf tournament at Ridgewood Country Club. Mandatory credit: Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports
Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson scored 67 and to beat Jamie Lovemark, Vaughn Taylor, Sean O & # 39; Hair and Kevin Tway on a day with rather low scores on the rain-soaked layout, where players could prefer lies.
Justin Thomas, who last year won the $ 10 million bonus as the FedExCup champion, scored a two-under-69.
Former number one Woods, in his first start since a second place behind Koepka at the PGA Championship this month, mixed two birdies with two bogeys at Ridgewood Country Club while continuing a trend of so-so.
Woods, who had broken the opening round in the opening round only twice in 15 events in 2018, said that less-than-ideal yardages were the fault for his lack of precision in his approach shots.
"I kept the half-club," said the 14-times-great champion, who might need a par or more on Friday to make the cut. "I did not quite touch it, I just did not feel like taking those very soft photos."
Koepka, who also won this year's US Open, was rewarded for his typically aggressive approach. Beginning on the back nine, the highlight of his round was an eagle on the par-5 17th.
"I like to be able to hit the driver at the most holes and if you put it in its place, you can have some wedges here and take advantage of your length," he said.
"And I did pretty well today, a few misses in the rough, but these fairways are not really wide, so I do not expect them to hit them all."
At the 17th hole, Koepka picked up five strokes with his companion Johnson, who ran a triple bogey after a wild hook of the tee.
"The triple was just that bad," Johnson said. "I hit that 70 meters to the left of where I looked.
"I have not hit that picture for a long time, so it was kind of funny, was not funny when I made a triple."
Johnson fought back and almost had a hole in one on the par-three sixth, where his ball lip out of the hole.
Joint leader Lovemark could hardly wish for a better start with birdies at the first three holes.
"Good way to start, a bit lost in the middle of the round and then some good things that came in," said the 30-year-old, who participated in the playoffs in 86th place.
The 125 best players in the FedExCup rankings qualified for the first of four play-off events culminating in a 30-player field for the 20-23 tournaments at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Additional reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Ed Osmond / Peter Rutherford