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NASSAU, Bahamas – As Justin Rose stood on the interview podium Wednesday at the Hero World Challenge, his eyes couldn’t help but wander to a nearby television, which was showing Gary Woodland hit his approach shot into Albany’s par-4 18th hole.
“That’s probably one of the toughest par-4s you’ll play all year, so save it for December,” said Rose, who escaped the hole with par.
The 470-yard finishing hole is tricky – down the left is water from tee to green, down the right are dunes and a treacherous fairway bunker that makes reaching the green tough.
A rare westerly wind made the hole much longer.
“It’s been a while,” said Woodland of the last time he hit 5-iron into the green.
Like Rose, Woodland made par to cap an opening 6-under 66, which ties him with Patrick Reed (also a par maker on 18) for the lead. They were among the lucky ones.
The 18th produced no birdies, four bogeys and some big numbers. Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson and Bryson DeChambeau all closed with doubles. Jordan Spieth found the water twice en route to a triple bogey. And Patrick Cantlay derailed a solid round with a quadruple bogey.