Former champion Max Homa fired a four-under-par 68 on Friday to take a one-shot lead in the Genesis Invitational, as Tiger Woods narrowly booked a place to play the weekend in his return to PGA Tour golf.
Homa’s 10-under-par total of 132 gave him a one-shot lead over third-ranked Spaniard Jon Rahm and Americans Keith Mitchell and Lee Hodges, with Woods 11 strokes adrift in his first tournament since he missed the cut at The Open. Woods was one stroke outside the cut line when he finished his round. After sweating out the afternoon his one-over total of 143 had him making the cut on the number.
“I did not putt well today. I blocked a lot of putts early and this is probably the highest score I could have shot today. I probably should have shot five or six better than this, easily,” Woods said.
Rahm, who has a chance to regain the world number one ranking from American Scottie Scheffler with a win this week, had two eagles in his three-under-par 68. Two-time major winner Collin Morikawa was a further stroke back on eight-under while Patrick Cantlay was at seven-under. Rory McIlroy, who could also regain the world number one ranking he surrendered to Scheffler on Sunday, was tied for seventh with Matt Kuchar — just four shots off the lead.
Meanwhile Woods insisted that he didn’t mean to cause offense when he pranked playing partner Justin Thomas by handing him a tampon in the first round of the Genesis Invitational. The moment, caught by at least one of the bevy of photographers who followed Woods’s first US PGA Tour round in seven months, went viral on social media. Critics were quick to conclude that Woods, having out-driven Thomas at Riviera Country Club’s ninth hole, was denigrating good friend Thomas as “playing like a girl.”
“Yeah, it was supposed to be all fun and games and obviously it hasn’t turned out that way,” Woods said. “If I offended anybody in any way, shape or form, I’m sorry. It was not intended to be that way. It was just we play pranks on one another all the time and virally I think this did not come across that way, but between us it’s different.”
Predictably, social media reaction was mixed. “Call me woke. Call me a snowflake. Call me ‘offended’. Whatever. But handing another male golfer a tampon is objectively not funny,” one Twitter poster wrote. Another, however, called negative reaction “manufactured anger.” Plenty found the exchange amusing.
SOURCE: AFP NEWS