Wednesday 24 October 2018

Tiger Woods still in contention after tough opening round in Masters return

Tiger Woods of the U.S. reacts to a putt on the 15th green during first round play of the 2018 Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, U.S., April 5, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Tiger Woods of the U.S. reacts to a putt on the 15th green during first round play of the 2018 Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, U.S., April 5, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Phil Casey

Tiger Woods posted a over-over-par score of 73 in his opening round at the Masters, but was left frustrated after some missed opportunities.

"It was interesting, an up and down day for me today," Woods told ESPN. "I had some opportunities to makes and didn't do it. I played the par fives very sloppily and that was the difference in the round."

Woods was five shots off the lead as he signed his card, with Henrik Stenson, Charley Hoffman and Adam Hadwin four under with two holes to play.

Woods is contesting the year's opening major for the first time in three years after undergoing spinal fusion surgery in April last year and has finished 12th, second and fifth in his last three starts on the PGA Tour.

But not for the first time in his career, the 42-year-old pulled his opening tee-shot into the trees which separate the first and ninth fairways, despite hitting three wood rather than a driver.

The former world number one hit a low punch shot from the pine straw which found the front edge of the green, from where he produced a superbly well-judged putt from long range to leave a tap-in for par.

Woods failed to take advantage of a 350-yard drive on the second after pushing his approach into a greenside bunker, but made no mistake from eight feet on the third after driving to within 20 yards of the green on the short par four.

However, Woods bogeyed the fourth and fifth after finding sand off the tee on both occasions and his round was in danger of unravelling when a wild drive on the 11th was followed by an attempted recovery which clattered into the gallery.

The resulting dropped shot was followed by a tee shot into the water on the 12th, but after a mediocre pitch Woods holed from 15 feet to salvage a bogey.

A birdie on the 14th was followed by another wayward tee shot on the 15th and meant Woods had to settle for a fourth par of the day on the par fives, holes he has played in 150 under par in his career.

But Woods did birdie the 16th to limit the damage on a day when some tough pin positions made low scores hard to come by.

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