Tiger Woods had a strong start to the Genesis Open Thursday at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles and finished the first round with a 2- under par 69 while paying tribute to his late friend Kobe Bryant who died in a helicopter crash along with eight others on January 26. Woods had an incredible performance on the front nine starting things off with an eagle on the first hole that he finished off with a miraculous 24-foot, 8-inch putt unintentionally signifying the two jersey numbers Bryant wore in his storied 20-year career.

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“It’s ironic, isn’t it?” Woods told the Golf Channel following his first outing. “I didn’t know about the putt being that long.”
On the eighth hole, Woods drove the ball 304 yards onto the fairway and followed it up with an 102-yard shot that landed on the green. He finished it off with a two-foot, nine-inch putt and paid tribute to Bryant by “shooting” his golf ball back to his caddy Joe LaCava next to the No. 8 flag pole that featured Bryant’s original NBA number in yellow and purple
“No matter what we do, I think for a while we’re going to always remember Kobe and what he meant, especially here in SoCal and the entire sports world,” Woods later added.

He finished the round in second place five shots behind Matt KucharWoods is seeking a record-best 83rd PGA Tour win and is currently tied for the most ever with fellow American Sam Snead.

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