Pat Cantlay is a California kid and he understands the devastation of the state’s recent wildfires.
He’s doing his part to bring awareness to the need in his home state at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. Cantlay has pledged $500 for every birdie he makes in Tiger Woods’ event and he made a bunch of them on Thursday to take a share of the first round lead.
Cantlay forged seven birdies, including five on the last six holes to post 65. He is the co-leader along with Ryder Cup team critic Patrick Reed. Reed had a good finish at well. He birdied two of the last three and finished his round off with a nice 14-footer at 18.
This is Cantlay’s first appearance in Tiger’s event. He had a break-out year last season and has risen to 20th in the world rankings.
As for Reed, he stirred the pot of controversy once again this week when asked if he had spoken to Jordan Spieth since the Ryder Cup and Reed promptly responded — “He has my (phone) number.” Obviously Reed wasn’t an invited guest to the Spieth-Annie Verret wedding over Thanksgiving weekend in Dallas.
As for the tournament host, Woods struggled on day one, mostly with his putter. “I didn’t quite feel comfortable with my game,” Woods said after shooting 73, which left him tied for next-to-last with Xander Schauffele, another first-timer at the Hero Challenge.
Woods’ round got away from him when he made triple-bogey six from just off the green at the par three 12th. He stubbed his short chip shot, the ball didn’t make it up the slope of the green and rolled back past woods, through some hard-pan sand and into a water hazard left of the green. He dropped, chipped his fourth six feet past the hole then missed the putt for five. Easy six.
After the round, Woods revealed that his ankles have been an issue for some time now and that they were sore once again on Thursday.