Tiger, Thomas top first day at Payne's Valley Cup

RIDGEDALE, Mo. – Tiger Woods and his TGR Design firm have built one of the widest golf courses imaginable at Big Cedar Lodge. Never mind that he missed the first fairway left on opening day in the Payne’s Valley Cup and lost a ball. It all worked out fine for Woods and American partner Justin Thomas.

That duo outlasted Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose on the first day of golf at Payne’s Valley in the Ozarks in a Ryder Cup-style exhibition match. The course was named in honor of Missouri native Payne Stewart, who died in a plane crash in 1999, and Stewart’s family was in attendance.

The American side took the title in a mix of fourball, foursomes and singles – with a bonus shot at a watery 19th hole designed by Bass Pro Shops and Big Cedar founder Johnny Morris. McIlroy and Rose won the opening six-hole segment of best-ball foursomes, and Woods and Thomas won the second six-hole segment of alternate shot. It went to singles matches from there, with Rose beating Woods 1-up and Thomas beating McIlroy 2-up to leave the match tied after 18 holes.

It all came down to that 120-yard shot to an island green at the par-3 19th hole set among exposed rocks towering an imposing 150…

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