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PGA Tour: Tiger Woods Able to Conquer Torrey Pines South Course in 1st Round of Farmers Insurance Open

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Talk about disparity. After the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open, only four of the top 19 golfers played the South Course at Torrey Pines, while the rest played the North Course. That bodes well for the likes of Tiger Woods (-4) and co-leader K.J. Choi (-7), who played well on the South course and should be able to put decidedly better numbers on Friday, when they venture to the North Course. Choi currently shares the lead with Brandt Snedeker.

“You’re at junior high over here and you go to high school tomorrow over on the South,” Charles Howell III said in a tweet after he finished his first round on the North Course. There are likely to be some significant shifts in the leaderboard as the players swap courses for their second round; those that played the South on Thursday will play the North on Friday and vice versa. All of the weekend golf will be played at the markedly more difficult South Course.

Unlike Woods, one of his playing partners succumbed to the difficulty of the South Course. While Nick Watney posted a more than respectable three under par 69, Rickie Fowler carded a five over par 77 in his first round. Even with an easier day on tap for Fowler, it is going to be difficult to come back from his first round performance, considering the leaders are currently sitting at seven under par.

This is setting up to be one of those tournaments that Tiger could very well run away with. If he is able to post a solid number, somewhere around five or six under par, while letting the majority of the leaders fall back when they move over to the much harder of the two courses, Woods could be have a few shot lead heading into the weekend. If that’s the case, the rest of the field is going to have to play great golf over the weekend to catch him.

If Tiger takes a lead into the weekend, whether or not he hangs on to that lead will go a long way in showing whether or not he is truly “back”.

Carl Conrad is the Golf Network Manager for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter or add him to your network on Google.