Woods' putting not up to par
GRAND BLANC TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Tiger Woods played a lot like the guy who didn't make the cut at the British Open. Woods shot a 1-under 71 on Thursday at the Buick Open, his first tournament since disappointing at Turnberry. He finished the first round tied for 128th on putts inside 10 feet and eight shots back of leader Steve Lowery. "Probably one of the worst putting days I've ever had," he said. "It was just terrible."Two weeks ago in the British Open, Woods was 7 over during a six-hole stretch and ended up missing a cut for the first time in three years. If Woods fails to break 70 in the second round this morning, he will put himself in danger of missing cuts in consecutive tournaments for the first time as a pro. It's too early, though, to count him out for the weekend at Warwick Hills even though the cut is usually 3 or 4 under. He opened the 2005 Buick Open with a 71, bounced back with a course record-tying 61 and finished tied for second. "I not only have to play well to make the cut, I've got to play well to get myself back in contention," said the two-time Buick Open champion, whose worst finish in eight previous stops here was a tie for 11th. "Guys are going to continue to go low. That's the way the golf course is playing right now. "It's going to be 20-plus to win." It usually is. The average winning score has been almost 21 under par since 2000 at Warwick Hills, one of the easiest courses on the PGA Tour. Lowery took advantage of perfect conditions - smooth, receptive greens and calm winds - in the morning by tying a course record with a 29 on the front nine and finishing 9-under 63. John Senden also did, making five consecutive birdies in the morning and finishing with nine to end up a shot off the lead. Y.E. Yang, James Nitties, Vaughn Taylor and Brian Vranesh were two back with 65s. U.S. SENIOR OPEN: Greg Norman birdied four consecutive holes on the front nine in the first round at Carmel, Ind., but a bogey on the final hole left him in a four-way tie with Joey Sindelar, Dan Forsman and amateur Tim Jackson at 6-under 66. Jackson broke the record for low score by an amateur at this tournament, and he did it in his Senior Tour debut. Andy Bean of Lakeland and Fulton Allem were both one shot back at 67. Sindelar posted three birdies on each side. Forsman, who started at No. 10, was 4 under at the turn. Neither had a bogey. Jackson charged back with five birdies on the final nine holes. Tony Pancake, the head pro at Crooked Stick Golf Club, said the 66s were a competitive course record. In the 1991 PGA Championship, won by John Daly, the low round was 67. WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN: University of Florida graduate Sandra Gal of Germany shot a 3-under 69 to grab the lead after the first round in Lytham St. Annes, England. She finished a shot ahead of Angela Stanford and Song-Hee Kim. Michelle Wie was at 73.