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Scoring Delight in CIMB Classic


If the first round is any indication, scores will continue to plummet in the CIMB Classic, a $6.1 million event co-sanctioned by the PGA and Asian tours that began Thursday at the Mines Resort & Golf Club in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Going the lowest was Troy Matteson, who fired an eight-birdie, course record-setting 63 to forge a one-stroke lead over fellow Americans Brian Harman, Jeff Overton, and Robert Garrigus. Another stroke back at 65 are Tom Gillis and India's Gaganjeet Bhullar.

Tournament headliner Tiger Woods was among a group - J.B. Holmes, Ricky Barnes, hometown hero Danny Chia, Aussie Greg Chalmers and South Africa's Jbe' Kruger - posting 66s.

Woods had two bogeys and a pair of bogeys on the front nine before getting warmed up on the back with five birdies. He knows that compiling birdies will be the key this week. "It's a different type of mindset," he said of being more aggressive than usual. "Going out there and shooting even-par on that front nine, I just felt like I got run over.

"What is frustrating is turning at even-par and I'm eight back," he added. "Three- or 4-under par was my number on the back nine - if I could shoot that, I'm still right in the ballgame. I happened to get one more, which was a bonus." (See below for his full post-round interview.)

Matteson ended his round on a high note, holing out from a greenside bunker on the par-4 18th for a fourth straight birdie. "The pin is really tricky on 18. I knew I'd be doing good if I could leave myself seven or eight feet for par, and it bounced and slam-dunked in the hole," said the 32-year-old, a two-time Tour winner. "That's the first time all year the ball has managed to hit the pin and stay in the hole."

Three Americans - Kevin Na, Pat Perez and Kevin Stadler - carded 67s to take a share of 13th, while posting 68s were Brendon de Jonge, Martin Laird, Ben Crane, David Lipsky and Jason Dufner.

Defending champion Bo Van Pelt, who came to the CIMB Classic after winning last week's Perth Invitational in Australia, opened with a 70. He won last year's event with a four-round score of 23-under 261.

The tournament in Malaysia, co-sanctioned by the PGA and Asian tours, doesn't count as an official PGA Tour event this year, but will be in 2013.

For all the scores, visit http://www.pgatour.com/leaderboards/current/r494.

After signing his card, Woods sat down with reporters and discussed his day. Here's what the 74-time Tour winner had to say.

TIGER WOODS: Well, I felt in control on the back nine. Towards the end of the front nine I was hitting it really well. Just missed a couple of short putts on 8 and 9 but I was hitting it really well. Just continued it, and it felt really good on the back nine. I hit some really good shots.

Q. We know you've had an amazing career. When you were here 13 years ago you had incredibly high expectations what kind of career you were going to have. Have you had a better career than you thought? Are you not quite there or -

TIGER WOODS: Well, I didn't think I could get to as many majors as I did that young, or win that many tournaments. You know, Jack is the only one that has ever done it, and it took him a long time to do it. Not too many guys have won over 70 events. That's something I'm proud of. I've done it at a reasonably early age, and I've still got a long way to go. I feel like I'm playing well and I've got some good years ahead of me.

Q. Obviously when you played in the World Cup you won with Mark O'Meara, you won the individual by five, so the situation you're in now going into the second rounds, you must be feeling good about that?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, tomorrow we're going a little bit earlier, and hopefully I can put together another good round. It's going to take something over 20 under par to win this tournament, so we've just got to keep going out and being aggressive and go get it.

Q. Well, we always think because you've got so much ability when you play within yourself, that's when you play your best. But when you know you've got to shoot 20 under par, does that make you be a little bit more aggressive than what you would want to be?

TIGER WOODS: Absolutely. Absolutely. It's a different type of mindset, going out there and shooting even par on that front nine, I just felt like I just got run over. But there's so many opportunities out there. You drive the ball in the fairway here, and if you don't get a mud ball you can be pretty aggressive coming into these flags because nothing is bouncing. They're all just stopping dead.

Q. And you've got to handle that heat at the same time, haven't you?

TIGER WOODS: It is what it is. Everyone has got to deal with it. It's hot, it's humid, and they've got to stay hydrated. The hard part is actually eating because you're just not hungry. I'm just like everyone else here, we're going to lose a few LBs this week.

Q. Seven birdies out there today, solid round. Just talk about all in all getting off to a decent start but coming down the stretch played really well.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, turning at even par, I felt like I just got run over there. It felt like I had to shoot something at least 3 , 4 under par on that back nine, and I happened to get one more, which is nice. I am at 5, three back, and it's going to take something 20 plus this week to win the tournament, so got to be aggressive and go get it.

Q. Do you feel like you left some birdies out on the course?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I missed a couple out there, but also the two putts I hit were good putts at 8 and 9. Realistically it could have easily been 7 or 8, but even at the turn and to still post 5, it was a nice little comeback.

Q. Any adjustments you made on the back nine?

TIGER WOODS: No, I didn't make anything because I really started hitting the ball quite well the end of the front nine, and I just happened to miss two short putts; so be it. But I was hitting it well. Just continue with that, give myself plenty of looks, and I did on that back nine, gave myself a lot of looks, and I made a few.

Q. Is there a 59 out here this week?

TIGER WOODS: If the wind doesn't blow and we get decent pins, where they don't put them on spots where they're tough to get at, guys could do it. You could conceivably see it. But it's all dependent on the pin locations and the fact that it's going to rain here just about every day, and we're getting mud balls out there. If we had where the balls were clean and you could control the shots - I mean, Marcus had about three or four, I had four out there today. It can get a little rough. But if everything works out in your favor, who knows.

Q. Talk about the weather. Could you go for an ice bath now?

TIGER WOODS: I would love to hop in an ice tub right now. Unfortunately we've got to go back to the hotel, and hopefully that shower can get as cold as it can get.

Q. When you're just narrowly missing putts and it's this hot, that must be frustrating.

TIGER WOODS: Actually what's frustrating is turning at even par and I'm eight back and knowing that the wind is picking up a little bit and it's going to be a little bit more difficult. As I said, 3 or 4 under par was my number on the back nine. If I could shoot that, I'm still right in the ballgame, and I happened to get one more, which was a bonus.

Q. How many times did you take out the driver today?

TIGER WOODS: I hit it quite a bit today. I think I missed two fairways with it. I think I hit it probably about eight times today. I drove it quite well today, and the one I hit at 8, I hit it right through the fairway. The only bad one I hit was at 12, just tugged it a little bit.

Q. You must be looking forward to an earlier start when the weather is not too hot.

TIGER WOODS: It's always hot here. (Laughter.)

Q. Today is very humid.

TIGER WOODS: It was humid today. Yeah, it was humid, but we've all got to deal with it, and staying hydrated, as I was saying earlier, the hard part is getting enough calories.

The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.