Tiger escapes major trouble

2012-04-05 19:39
Tiger Woods (File)

Augusta - Tiger Woods overcame two nightmarish tee shots at the start of the 76th Masters to stand one-under par after nine holes on Thursday in the opening round of the year's first major tournament.

Live scoring from the Masters

The 14-time major champion, chasing the all-time record 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus, seeks his fifth Masters title and 73rd US PGA crown in his first event since snapping a 28-month win drought two weeks ago.

Former World No 1 Woods birdied the par-4 third and par-5 eighth holes and took a bogey at the par-4 seventh to make the turn in 35 in his first round since capturing the Arnold Palmer Invitational last month at Bay Hill.

Woods, who has not won a major title since the 2008 US Open and has not won the Masters since 2005, could match Nicklaus for second on the US PGA all-time win list at 73, nine shy of the record 82 won by Sam Snead.

At one-under, Woods shared sixth, five strokes behind leader Henrik Stenson of Sweden and two behind clubhouse leader Paul Lawrie of Scotland.

Woods said he was "Feeling ready," in a two-word Twitter posting only hours before his round began, but he appeared anything but prepared in the early going at Augusta National Golf Club.

His inaugural shot hooked left off the first tee, smacked a pine tree left of the fairway and rolled halfway back down the hillside toward the players, coming to rest in the pine needles.

After the gallery raced to surround his ball and reshuffled to provide a path for his shot to reach the fairway, Woods blasted out of the mess 10 yards short of the green, pitched to eight feet and sank the par putt.

Another narrow escape followed.

Woods sent his tee shot at the par-5 second even more left, deep into a set of bushes near a pedestrian path. He took a penalty and dropped near a tree, then smashed a shot through small tree branches and leaves that landed short of the green.

Woods went up and down from there for another clutch par save even as spectators still scrambled through the bushes seeking a Woods souvenir ball.

World No 7 Woods found the fairway and green at the third and sank an eight-foot birdie putt to reach the leaderboard, staying there after a bogey at seven, birdie at the eighth and par at the ninth.

Read more on:    masters  |  tiger woods  |  golf

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