Tiger Woods and Gary Woodland are tied for first place at the 2019 Zozo Championship on 6-under 64 after the first round.
Sportsbetting outlets like Bovada Sportsbook had Tiger Woods listed at +3300, or 33-to-1, to win the event before it started, so early backers are starting to look pretty smart right about now. But can Tiger hold on through this momentum-killing two-day delay due to inclement weather?
Golf Digest led with the headline, “Typhoon Tempers Tiger-Mania,” as the treacherous storm struck and pounded the course with over 9 inches of rain, and the confidence that they’d be able to complete four rounds of golf by Sunday went out the window.
The tournament is scheduled to take-off again on Saturday in Japan, leading to a Monday finish. However, the second round will be played without spectators on the course. Will we see a massive shift in the leaderboard after momentum has been lost with an off day and the course conditions changing?
Behind Tiger and Woodland, Japan's Hideki Matsuyama is in third at 5 under par. Then, Daniel Berger, Ryan Palmer and South Korea's Sung Kang are in a three-way tie for fourth place. After that, there is a whole handful of athletes at 2 under par, in a six-way tie for seventh.
More rain is expected on Sunday so we are likely to see a slow, wet course still on Monday. The good news is it should be 71 on Sunday and 66 degrees on Monday, which is good for Tiger Woods. If the weather is too cold and brutal, it may affect Woods' muscles and back, making it tougher for him to perform en route to an 82nd PGA Tour win. Remember how much things changed in the BMW Championship after the rains started to fall.
He lamented then that the scores were “ungodly low because it’s soft. But the greens were not that slow.” Woods will looks to continue to hit close approach shots and leave short putts to score. It will definitely be soft, which could create an advantage for Tiger as he isn’t hitting it quite as long as some of the younger guys on tour. With soft, wet fairways, everyone will be sticking on Sunday and Monday.
It was an ugly start for Woods on Thursday, but he came back to produce a fantastic round after making nine birdies in his final 15 holes, making it his 57th round of 64 or better in his illustrious PGA Tour career. No other player has more than Woods since this stat came into existence in 1983.
This is the 31st time that Woods has led on the PGA Tour after the opening round and when this happens, he wins the tournament 50 percent of the time. In his 30 Round 1 leads, he’s won 15 times. He’s also won his season opener seven times throughout his career. So can he hang on? For that matter, can US Open champion Gary Woodland hold on as well?