Despite shaky start, Woods opens with 69


GULLANE, Scotland – Things didn’t start well – a wild drive off the first, a provisional, an unplayable. It all added up to a bogey at the first hole for Tiger Woods on Thursday at the Open Championship but the world No. 1 rallied to post an opening 69.

Following a shaky front nine (37), Woods birdied three of his first four holes on the back nine and was three strokes behind clubhouse front-runner Zach Johnson.

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“It was more of grind out there. It just got so difficult,” said Woods, who hit 10 of 14 fairways, 12 of 18 greens in regulation and had 10 one-putts.

In his first competitive round since last month’s U.S. Open, Woods pulled his tee shot left of the first fairway. After hitting a provisional tee shot, Woods found his opening tee shot but declared it unplayable – likely an attempt to spare his left elbow any further injury – and scrambled for bogey.

Although it wasn’t the start Woods would have hoped for, his opening 69 was one shot better than his first round at Muirfield in the 2002 Open, when he was just two strokes back before being blown out of contention by Saturday’s legendary storm.