The top of the leaderboard at the WGC Cadillac Championship is chock full of big names. There are currently. The co-leaders after round one are Tiger Woods, Freddie Jacobson, Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell and Bubba Watson. Hot on their heels, however, is a group sitting a five under par that boasts the likes of Hunter Mahan, Peter Hanson, Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker. Talk about a heavyweight fight.
Jacobson is sitting at the top of board thanks to his putter, which has been out of this world recently. Through 15 holes on Thursday, Freddie had taken 20 putts, including a three-putt on the second hole. When your short stick is firing that hot it’s going to keep you in a lot of tournaments.
Nine birdies on the day helped Woods get to six under par after his first 18. He went bogey-free over the last seven and was four under par on his second nine of the day. By all accounts, he seems to be firing on all cylinders. Woods credited his resurgent putting stroke to some lessons given to him by Stricker. “Whatever he says, I’m going to do,” Tiger said. “He’s one of the best putters that’s ever lived.”
Sergio carded a rare bogey-free round, playing the front nine in four under par, just like Woods. He led the field in the first round with 16 of 18 greens hit in regulation. He was able to capitalize on a few of those birdie tries, which has him tied for the lead. The only other stroke-play event that Garcia has played on the PGA Tour this year was the Northern Trust Open. In that event, the Spaniard opened there with a six under par 65 and went on to finish tied for 13th.
Watson played alongside Mickelson and Stricker, and their group was a combined sixteen under par. I would say that’s a pretty solid first 18 for the three superstars. Bubba is looking to improve on his runner-up finish at this event last year by taking the lead wire-to-wire.
McDowell also had a relatively worry-free round, shooting 33 on both sides to arrive at his 66 on the day. As with several of the other leaders, G-Mac did not card a bogey on the day. He is probably the least-talked about leader at this point, but that could very well change if he’s still hanging around the top of the leaderboard going into Sunday.
The first round at Doral was definitely exciting. The Blue Monster wasn’t quite as intimidating as when the wind is gusting, and that showed in the scoring with 41 players at par or better. If the conditions change and the wind picks up, there is going to be even more movement on the leaderboard than if these guys just go out and shoot low.