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Sport

Munoz grabs lead, Woods struggles at Zozo Championship

(Reuters) - Sebastian Munoz had an eventful opening round that included two eagles in an eight-under-par 64 that gave him a one-shot lead at the Zozo Championship on Thursday while Tiger Woods’ bid for a record 83rd PGA Tour win got off to a stuttering start.

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World number three Justin Thomas got hot on the back nine, finishing eagle-birdie-birdie for a seven-under 65 to climb into a tie for second with England’s Tyrrell Hatton.

The tournament is being played at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California instead of Japan due to logistical issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Munoz, coming off a top 10 finish at last week’s CJ Cup, had a shaky start after his tee shot on the first hole found the rough and led to the first of his two front-nine bogeys.

But the Colombian then landed four birdies over the next five holes before drilling in his first eagle at the seventh, making the turn at four under.

His rollercoaster round continued on the back nine where he added four more birdies, a double bogey and an eagle after holing out from over 50 yards on 16.

“Not a normal round,” said Munoz.

“It happens, and I’ve become better with managing crazy up and downs.”

Defending champion Woods struggled with all parts of his game in a four-over 76, leaving him tied for second to last.

A rare bright spot came when he drained an 87-foot putt on the 14th that elicited a broad smile from the American.

Despite world number one Dustin Johnson and Australian Adam Scott being sidelined due to positive COVID-19 tests, the event still boasts a strong lineup including world number two Jon Rahm (68), Justin Rose (67) and PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa (71).

The field has no cut and will be the last event for many of the players before the rescheduled Masters from Nov. 12-15.

Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Ken Ferris/Peter Rutherford

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