Choi charges ahead

12/2/2011 12:13:05 AM
K.J. Choi  (Getty Images)
K.J. Choi (Getty Images)
Tiger Woods made a strong start to his bid for a fifth Chevron World Challenge title in California, but could not prevent Korea’s K J Choi taking the first round lead.

An opening round of 69 moved the former World Number One into a share of second place in the 18-player field, alongside his fellow American Steve Stricker.

But while Woods and Stricker had good cause to be satisfied with their rounds, Choi carded a 66 to open a three shot lead.

Woods is without a tournament victory for two years and lost a play-off to Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell in this event 12 months ago.

However, he came into this week on a positive note having helped the United States to win the Presidents Cup after finishing third in the Australian Open last month.

Woods carried on where he left off at Sherwood Country Club with four birdies in his opening five holes to claim an early share of second place.

Woods birdied the first, second, fourth and fifth, but dropped a shot on the ninth to reach the turn in 33, three under par.

He picked up further shots at the 13th and 17th on the way home, but bogeys at the 15th and 16th meant there was no overall gain on the closing nine holes.

Choi had also taken advantage of the opening stretch to move into the lead, the Korean picking up birdies at each of his first five holes to reach the turn in 31.

Further birdies at the long 13th and 16th holes followed, with the only blemish on his card a bogey at the par three 15th.

Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar were also on three under alongside Woods at one stage, as was Australian Jason Day, but they fell away.

Furyk reached the clubhouse in one under, while Kuchar, who was briefly four under, had a triple-bogey eight on the 15th and finished on level par. Day slipped to two over, having dropped five shots in his closing three holes by going seven-five-five.