Tiger Woods started out his day with a birdie, but didn’t really take advantage of the favorable conditions. He finished with a one under par, or 71.
Jason Kokrak put on a late charge to grab a share of the lead. From the thick rough on the par-5 10th, he whacked in an eagle. Kokrak is now a minus 7.
Justin Thomas matched Kokrak with a 65, which ties the course record. Kokrak takes a one-shot lead into the second round.
And overall, Medinah Country Club was no match for the best golfers in the world Thursday, with almost every player shooting par or better.
Thomas’ day of success was despite what he called having the worst warmup of his career before Thursday’s round.
“Of course, it’s so soft that as long as you leave in the right places if you miss the green, it’s not very difficult to get up and down, and the greens are good – so all my birdie putts were easy putts, so I was able to hit my wedges closer, chip it closer, whatever it was, and it just felt like it was a very low-stress day,” said Thomas.
“It’s soft, so I think a tough golf course by design, but right now it’s a lot of moisture from the rain, so the golf course is playing a little longer than usual, but that’s never an issue for players of today,” said Jim Furyk, who is one shot behind the leaders at six under par.
“I just need to clean up my rounds and get going,” said added Woods. “It seems like the whole field’s under par, and the golf course is soft. Even though it’s long, it’s just gettable.”
The good news is that Woods felt no pain in his injured oblique Thursday. But he has a lot of work to do if he wants to be in contention at Medinah this weekend.