Nicholas Thompson leads after day 1 of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego. Tiger Woods withdrew after 11 holes with a back injury.

Nicholas Thompson leads after day 1 of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego. Tiger Woods withdrew after 11 holes with a back injury.

Thompson fired an eight-under-par 64 on the shorter North Course at Torrey Pines to claim a one-stroke lead over Michael Thompson (who is no relation, Nicholas is the brother of LPGA star Lexi.)

Winner of last week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, Brooks Koepka, is tied for third with another American Cameron Tringale. Jhonattan Vegas posted the best score on the more difficult South Course, the Venezuelan fired a five-under-par 67.

England’s Ian Poulter is the leading Brit. He scored 67 on the North Course. Scotland’s Martin Laird continued his good form with a 68 over the tougher South Course, while Justin Rose was a disappointing three-over-par through 17 holes on the South Course when darkness stopped play.

Nicholas Thompson carded seven birdies an eagle and a lone bogey over the North Course to post his best score over the layout.

“Between the two golf courses, the North Course has been my nemesis in relation to the field,” Thompson said. “So it’s nice to get a good one there, a good start there.”

The big story of the day was the withdrawal of Tiger Woods. The former World Number 1 was two-over-par through 11 holes on the North Course when he decided to call it a day because of back pain.

“My glutes are shutting off,” said Woods. “Then they don’t activate and then, hence, it goes into my lower back. I tried to activate my glutes as best I could, in between, but they never stayed activated… It’s frustrating.” As the leading comment on the PGA Tour website story read – “so he’s struggling to get his butt into gear!”

Woods came into this event on the back of a missed cut in the Phoenix Open where he recorded the worst score of his professional career – an 82. The signs weren’t much better at the start of play at Torrey Pines.

Tiger bladed a chip on his first hole, then grimaced after losing his tee shot well right on the next. The next nine holes saw a mixed bag of strange shots, then on the 2nd (Tiger’s 11th), a hole where he had never made a bogey, he made a double after duffing a pitch.

After hitting his tee shot on the next, he decided enough was enough. He shook hands with playing partners Billy Horschel and Rickie Fowler, got on a golf cart and headed for the car park.

“It’s unfortunate, because I consider him a friend and I want to see him get back to the level of play that we all know he can produce,” Horschel said. “I don’t think he’s that far off. If he can just stay healthy and be able to work on it I think that we would see the results.”

Farmers Insurance Open
Torrey Pines GC (South), San Diego, California
Feb 5-8, purse: $6,300,000, par: 72

1    Nicholas Thompson (USA)    64    North Course
2    Michael Thompson (USA)    65    North Course
T3    Brooks Koepka (USA)        66    North Course
T3    Cameron Tringale (USA)    66    North Course
T5    Jhonattan Vegas (Ven)        67    South Course
T5    Freddie Jacobson (Swe)        67    North Course
T5    Brendon de Jonge (Zim)    67    North Course
T5    Chad Campbell (USA)        67    North Course
T5    Chris Kirk (USA)            67    North Course
T5    Ian Poulter (Eng)            67    North Course

Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage