Tiger outshines Bubba, Phil in first round


SAN FRANCISCO – Tiger Woods is off to a fast start in his bid to win his 15th major championship.

With a 1-under-par 69 Thursday at The Olympic Club, Woods was tied for second place and just three shots off the lead when he signed his scorecard.

'This is one of those Opens where it’s just really hard to make birdies, this is a tough one,' Woods said. 'I’m really excited how I was able to execute my game plan.'

This is Woods’ best start in a U.S. Open since he opened with a 67 in 2002 at Bethpage Black. He went on to win that championship, the second of his three U.S. Open titles.

Video: Highlights from Woods, other early starters

Video: Tiger talks about his round

Photos: First-round action

Woods seriously outplayed his high-profile playing partners in their marquee pairing. He was seven shots better than Phil Mickelson, nine shots better than Bubba Watson.

Woods, looking to win his first major in four years, came out in control and hardly wavered around a very difficult setup. He made a statement with his opening tee shot, a monster driver down the middle. He hit another driver long and deep down the middle with his second tee shot. He wouldn’t hit many more drivers the rest of the day, using 3-woods and irons to consistently find fairways. He hit 10 of 14 fairways.

With Mickelson and Watson spraying shots all over the course, the penal nature of Olympic came through. Their struggles made Woods’ performance all the more impressive.