Patrick Cantlay leads Genesis Invitational as Rory McIlroy struggles in Tiger Woods’ PGA Tour comeback

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Patrick Cantlay holds a one-shot lead after the opening round of the Genesis Invitational, where Scottie Scheffler’s putting struggles continued and Rory McIlroy had a back-nine to forget in Tiger Woods’ PGA Tour comeback.

Cantlay mixed eight birdies with one bogey during a first-round 64 at Riviera Country Club, giving him a one-shot lead over Jason Day, Cameron Davis and Luke List, while Jordan Spieth is in the group two back on five under.

World No 1 Scheffler is within four of the lead despite a shocking day on the greens, with five missed chances from inside 10 feet during his first 11 holes alone leaving him throwing his ball into the trees in anger during a three-under 68.

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Scottie Scheffler missed a string of birdie chances during his opening round, prompting him to toss one of his balls into the trees at the Genesis Invitational!

Woods marked his first official PGA Tour start since The Masters in April with a one-over 72, while McIlroy has left himself work to do just to make the cut after dropping five shots in two holes on his way to an opening-round 74.

Eventful start in California

Cantlay opened with back-to-back gains and added further birdies at the fourth and sixth, with the former FedExCup champion holing from 25 feet at the eighth to join playing partner Spieth in reaching the turn in 30.

Patrick Cantlay holds up the ball after finishing the first round on the North Course at Torrey Pines, at the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
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Patrick Cantlay is looking for a first PGA Tour victory since August 2022

The American took advantage of the par-five 11th and made successive gains from the 13th to get to eight under, then carded his only bogey of the day when he hit trees off the tee at the par-three 16th.

List and Day both enjoyed blemish-free starts to get within one of the lead, as Davis birdied three of his last five holes to complete the trio tied-second, with Spieth joined in a share of fifth by Will Zalatoris – who briefly led – and Tom Hoge.


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Byeong Hun An and Adam Svensson are three back, while Scheffler -who could lose world No 1 spot to McIlroy this week – is a further shot behind and tied-tenth after failing to build on an eagle-birdie start.

Woods enjoys ‘indifferent’ start as McIlroy fades

Woods made two birdies in three holes on his front nine and was still in red figures with seven holes to go, with the 15-time major champion showing plenty of positive signs in his first outing wearing his new ‘Sun Day Red’ clothing.

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Highlights from Tiger Woods’ first round at the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Golf Course.

The former world No 1 only registered seven pars on an eclectic scorecard, with an inexplicable shank from the final fairway resulting in a closing bogey and leaving him eight strokes off the clubhouse lead.

“My round was good and a little bit indifferent,” Woods told Golf Channel. “I didn’t feel like I hit a lot of greens today. I missed a lot and was stressing out on the short game. I mean, I had maybe about five days today or something stupid [seven]. It was making either birdies or bogeys.”

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Tiger Woods hit an incredible shank shot on his approach to the 18th hole as he bogeyed the last to finish on one-over-par at the first round of the Genesis Invitational.

McIlroy made a strong start as he followed a front-nine 33 by driving the tenth green and two-putting for birdie, only for a three-putt par from the fringe at the par-five 11th sparking the unravelling of his round.

A wayward tee shot at the next left him two-putting from 40 feet just to scramble for a bogey, then a poor approach into the 15th and disappointing chip from the rough saw him post a double-bogey six.

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Rory McIlroy is ten strokes behind after the opening day of the Genesis Invitational

Worse was to come at the par-three 16th, where McIlroy took two attempts out of the sand and three-putter from eight feet for a triple-bogey, with the Northern Irishman then cancelling out a two-putt birdie at the par-five 17th by carding another bogey on the final hole.

There will be a 36-hole cut on Friday to include the top 50 players and ties, plus anyone within 10 strokes of the lead, with the winner of the latest PGA Tour Signature Event pocketing a first prize of $3.6million.

Watch the Genesis Invitational throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues Friday with early coverage from 3.30pm, ahead of full coverage from 8pm. Stream the majors, PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour and more on NOW.

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