By Phil Dailey
It's a new year for Tiger Woods and it was a good start Thursday on the North Course at Torrey Pines Golf Course.
Woods, who has not played played the La Jolla event in three years, shot a 3-under 69 — four shots off the lead — during the first round of the Farmer's Insurance Open.
"I probably I hit the ball well all day, I had just a couple of loose shots that I know what I did wrong, which is great, easy fixes and move on from there," Woods said shortly after finishing his round.
On the day, Woods played bogey-free golf. He was paired with Rocco Mediate, his opponent in the thrilling playoff in the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. Mediate finished Round One just a stroke under par.
The six-time champ of the event did struggle a bit with his drives and said that the fairways were some of the toughest to hit on the PGA Tour.
"Today with the wind coming across, it was tough," Woods said. "It was dry and it was fast and the ball was rolling. You have such a small little window to get the ball in there and it's just gonna roll 40 or 50 yards."
Woods tees off on the South Course on Friday at 10 a.m.
Fan favorites John Daly and Phil Mickelson blistered Torrey Pines South for seven birdies and, combined with two bogies each, finished with a five-under 67.
The leader after the first day was South Korea's Sung-hoon Kang, who scorched Torrey Pines North for an eight-under-par 64. Alex Prugh and Rickie Fowler are one shot back at 7-under.
In the past, the first-round leaders were on the North Course, but they invariably fell back to the pack when taking on the South Course the next day.
The top 70 players, out of 156 entrants, will advance to the final two rounds, which will take place on Torrey Pines South.
Local high-schooler plays well
Heading into the final three holes, Anthony Paolucci's scorecard was at even par, a decent showing for the La Jolla Country Day senior. It got better from there as he birdied No. 16 and No. 18 to finish his first PGA Tour round at 2-under, the same score as Ben Crane, last year's Farmer's Insurance Open winner.
"I made a little adjustment on the back nine," Paolucci said. "But I hit a lot of good putts the whole day. I didn't do much different. Just able to make a few putts."
Paulucci will tee off Friday at 9:20 on the North Course.
If you go
Tickets cost $32 per day, or $21 for seniors 60 and over.
General parking costs $20 at the Del Mar Show Park and Qualcomm Stadium, with shuttles to the courses.
CITY NEWS SERVICE contributed to this report.