Noren, Simpson lead at Honda; Woods has solid 70

Curiosity hope and big crowds follow Tiger Woods

The former Masters victor likened the brutal par 3s to holes at a major championship, where a flawless shot is the only option.

Scott was surging up the leaderboard before finding the water hazard from the tee at the 15th and 17th, resulting in a double-bogey five and a triple-bogey six, respectively.

Playing in consistent winds of 15-20 miles per hour, Noren began his round on the back nine.

He answered with a birdie, made par the rest of the way and shot 70. The wind is tough. Woods' short game is still tidy, but he said that his iron play is vastly improved, and it needed to be, given the challenging conditions in the first round.

The Swede is acclimating to his first year on the PGA Tour and said he planned to play some holes at another golf course in the afternoon to practice the variety of shots he needs to manage his way around PGA National. I struggled to read the greens, and I hit a couple of putts that did the exact opposite of what I thought they were going to do.

The first round of the Honda Classic will open with temperatures in the low 70s this morning, but the heat will quickly ramp up.

"Big picture, I'm so happy to be playing, and this is my third week in a row and don't feel any ill effects from health-wise or mentally or anything like that". But he's still drawing huge galleries and TV ratings, he's starting to pull off some really good golf shots and, on this day, letting people experience something once feared to be gone for good.

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Justin Thomas played with Woods in the Bahamas before only a few hundred people.

But Swede Noren and American Simpson staked their claims with 4-under 66s for a one-stroke lead at PGA National Golf Club. Playing in the group ahead of Woods, Thomas reached 4-under before a bogey on No. 6.

"I'm trying to get better, more efficient at what I'm doing", Woods said. He tied for third the following year before missing the cut again in 2017. "I was able to do all that today, so that was very pleasing". He finished his front 9 with a 1-under 34.

The 14-time major champion rolled a five-footer home to avoid dropping a shot at the 14th, only to bogey the 16th after failing to get up-and-down from a greenside bunker.

Woods got off to clean start except for one visit to the concession stands. He was just like everyone else that day - carts on paths only.

"I think the odds would be against him getting to 18, but I would be pretty sure, if you look at any of the great players in the game of golf, they always won a major later in their career".

"It was very positive today".

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