Tiger Woods has few complaints after getting into Round 1 contention
Tiger Woods shot a 2-under-par 70 Thursday at Augusta National, opening the Masters Tournament with a number that’s been a good omen in the past.
“I did all the things I needed to do to post a good number,” he said. “Drove it well, hit some good iron shots, speed was good on the greens. It was tricky. The wind dies, it puffs up, goes down, it switches directions and it’s typical of this golf course.”
Woods, seeking his fifth green jacket, has never finished worse than tied for sixth after an opening 70 at the Masters, riding the number to victory in 1997, 2000 and 2001.
Photos: Tiger's First Round
In his third Masters appearance since 2013, Woods reached 3 under and grabbed a share of the lead on 14, where he hoisted his second shot over the left trees and rolled in a curling 25-foot right-to-left birdie putt. The ball was moving rapidly when it disappeared and Woods punctuated the moment with a pair of fist pumps.
He squandered the momentum on the next hole.
After a 301-yard drive on the par-5 15th, he launched a 4-iron approach over the green. The ball came to rest on a root, forcing Woods to play a conservative third and settle for par.
“It kind of swirls out there and it’s hard to get a bead on exactly what it’s doing at all times,” Woods said. “With as hot as it was the ball was flying a long way and you had to take advantage of it. I played well today and controlled my golf ball today.”
Woods hit nine fairways and 11 greens and needed 28 putts.
With the wind blowing out of the south, the tee shots were downwind on Augusta National’s last three par 5s; however, Woods played those holes only 1-under.
“The ball’s going a long way where we can get the ball down where we’re going to have irons into these par 5s, excluding eight,” Woods said. “I thought I played the par 5s well. I was in position there at 8 to make birdie.”
“It helps having it down on 13 for me. I don’t quite carry it as far as some of these other guys who can hit it 320 in the air,” he said. “It’s interesting how they move those tee markers over so we can’t hit that gap up the left. They do a lot of little things that make this golf course a little tricky.”
Woods aims to remain on the leaderboard for his third consecutive major. He tied for sixth at the British Open - briefly holding the solo lead - and closed with 64 at Bellerive to finish second in the PGA Championship.
Regardless his final position Thursday, if past results matter, expect Woods to hang around on the leaderboard until late in the final round.
“I tee off late tomorrow (1:49 p.m.) The wind is supposed to be up. I’ve got my work cut out for me and so does everybody else,” he said.