With all eyes on the featured group of Tiger Woods, Jason Day and Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose of England flew under the radar into the lead in the Farmers Insurance Open.
Rose eagled both par-5 holes as he finished off a 7-under-par 65 on the front nine of the North Course at Torrey Pines Golf Club in La Jolla to take a one-stroke lead over Adam Hadwin of Canada.
Woods, playing in an official PGA Tour event in 17 months after undergoing two back surgeries, struggled on the back nine of the South Course en route to a 76 that was the highest score of his career in the first event of a calendar year.
“I was fighting out there all day, but I didn’t hit the ball very well and the greens were tough,” said Woods, who was tied for 133rd after playing a four-hole stretch on the back nine in 5-over. “I was in good shape at 1-under through 11 holes and had a chance for a good score, but let it slip away in the middle of the back nine.
“It was tough out there and I was in the rough all day. I’m just trying to get used to playing (tournament golf again). … I was playing OK and then it just went the other way.”
Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines as a pro, including the 2008 U.S. Open.
Rose was 1-under after playing the back nine first, but played the front in 6-under 30, including eagles on the fifth and ninth holes.
“It was a great start for me and I love the new greens (on the North Course),” said Rose, who has won seven times on the PGA Tour, including the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion. “The key to my round was hitting the green on all the par-5 holes in two shots. I had four eagle putts and made two of them.”
Hadwin, who finished second to Hudson Swafford last week in the CareerBuilder Challenge, birdied four of the last six holes on the South Course to shoot 66, while Beau Hossler of Mission Viejo had a 67 on the North and was tied for third with Gary Woodland (North), Brad Fritsch of Canada (South), Charles Howell III (North) and Trey Mullinax (North).
Defending champion Brandt Snedeker carded a 68 on the North Course and was in a tie for eighth with nine others, including Pat Perez of San Diego and Patrick Rodgers of Stanford, who both also played the North.
Phil Mickelson, who grew up in San Diego and has won three times at Torrey Pines, was tied for 47th after a 71 on the North Course, while third-ranked Johnson was tied for 77th at 72 and top-ranked Day was tied for 93rd at 73.
Woods, Johnson and Day all finished their tough days with birdies on the 18th hole.