Published: Sun, August 05, 2018
Sport | By Victor Mcdonald

McIlroy and Woods make strong starts at WGC-Bridgestone

McIlroy and Woods make strong starts at WGC-Bridgestone

Tiger Woods says anger from his British Open near-miss is fuelling his effort to end his five-year title drought with an astonishing ninth World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational victory.

Woods has won the event eight times and made qualifying one of his goals for the season as the tournament moves from Firestone Country Club in Akron to Memphis next year.

Rory McIlroy plays alongside Hideki Matsuyama in today's opening round of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational.

I've always been a fan of this golf course and remember playing here before it was even a World Golf Championship.

"I went from just hoping to be able to play the Tour to know that I feel like I can, I certainly can win again".

On Wednesday, Tiger told reporters the straight-forward course at Firestone, which is rare on the tour, will remain a special place to him.

But the 42-year-old has recorded four top-10 finishes in 12 events this season and had several chances to win, most recently in the Open Championship at Carnoustie where he led by a shot with eight holes to play. Woods last played at a WGC in this very tournament in 2014 but pulled out before completing it.

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The birdie putt pulled up inches short and Woods finally paid for some wayward driving when he was unable to scramble par on his final hole after finding a fairway bunker off the tee.

"I've got to manage that and really make sure I take it easy in my practice sessions and make sure I'm ready for the tournament rounds". "I use it as a week to try and work on my game and if I get myself into contention, then that's just a bonus", said McIlroy. I've always played great here. At times, their relationship has been strained, although it has softened in recent years as both players became heavily involved in the U.S. Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup efforts.

The 14-time major victor made it into the field at Ohio's Firestone Country Club thanks to his joint sixth-place finish at last month's Open at Carnoustie in Scotland. "I couldn't keep my ball under the wind", said Kiradech, who finished T75 at the year's third major.

Matsuyama, once in the mix to reach No. 1 in the world, now is at No. 16.

On the one hand, his top-50 ranking serves as affirmation of what's been a bounce-back year for the 14-time Major-winner.

"And now it feels like I can play with them and, you know, I don't feel intimidated in any way".

"No, I couldn't", said Molinari, who has risen to a career-high of sixth in the world, from 20th a year ago.

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