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A steady start for Tiger Woods at Doral

By Doug Ferguson AP Golf Writer

March 7, 2014

DORAL, Fla. (AP) — Tiger Woods only made it through six holes Thursday until he walked off the golf course — along with the other 67 players at Doral.


The opening round of the Cadillac Championship was delayed for more than two hours Thursday because of a large band of thunderstorms that eventually dumped rain on the new Blue Monster at Trump National Doral.


Woods was 1-over par through six holes, picking up his lone bogey on the par-3 fourth hole when he went long of the green.


PGA champion Jason Dufner ran off four straight birdies at the start of his round, and then made birdie on the par-5 first hole to reach 5-under par when the round was halted. He was one shot ahead of Russell Henley, coming off a win last week in the Honda Classic. Henley was on the other side of the course.


The first round brought plenty of curiosity, starting with Woods.


The world’s No. 1 player withdrew after 13 holes in the final round at the Honda Classic because of lower back pain and spasm. He said he received treatment all week, and while declaring himself fit to defend his title in this World Golf Championship, said he was concerned about recurring back injuries.


Woods showed no sign of obvious discomfort in the six holes he played before the suspension.


Donald Trump bought the resort and hired Gil Hanse to redesign the Blue Monster. The course looks nothing like it once did except for the routing, with brand new greens and more water in play than ever before.


Hanse was in the gallery. He is regarded as a good listener, and while he has spoken to players throughout the week, he was most curious to see how the Blue Monster would fare when the scores actually counted.


Seventeen players were under par at various points on the golf course.


Luke Donald was at 3 under, while Rory McIlroy dropped two shots to fall back to 1 under. McIlroy three-putted from long range on the 17th, and then tried to take on too much of the water on the 18th with a driver and saw it tumble down the bank and into the hazard.


Phil Mickelson was playing in the same group as McIlroy. He was even through nine holes after hitting his approach into the water on the 18th.


Adam Scott was playing with Woods and was at even par. Scott can go to No. 1 in the world if he were to win the Cadillac Championship and Woods finished out of the top five.