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Golf

Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods Still Within Striking Distance at Honda Classic

Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

It is rare that a professional golfer leads a tournament from start to finish, so it shouldn’t worry fans of Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy that they got off to a relatively slow start at the Honda Classic. The top two ranked golfers in the world each carded first rounds scores of even par to put them tied for 61st. Even though they are six shots off of the lead heading into the second round, there is still plenty of time to make up ground and contend for the title. In McIlroy’s case, he is looking to defend his title from last year.

Woods finds himself in a similar position to where he was last year at this same event, when he trailed the first round leader by seven strokes after the first round of play. He subsequently carded rounds of 68-69-62 to finish in second place, behind McIlroy.

This year, Tiger’s even par first round included him playing his ball out of the water on number three (his 12th hole) and managing to scramble for par. His major problems came on the greens, where it seemed like he was having a great deal of difficulty reading putts. If he can get the short stick going, he should find himself in contention over the weekend.

McIlroy, on the other hand, seems to still be going through some growing pains with his new Nike gear. He just hasn’t seemed comfortable with his new equipment and it has been impacting his swing. “It’s hard to commit to the shot that you need to play every time,” said McIlroy. “If you know that you should play a fade and you’re not comfortable with it, it’s hard to do.” He only hit seven fairways in his first round.

Anyone who follows the game of golf knows that a six shot deficit after the first round of play is nothing that Woods and/or McIlroy can’t overcome. The key for Woods will be to start making putts and McIlroy just needs to get comfortable with his clubs. Sounds easy enough, right?

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