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Woods nine back of Spieth after opening in 73

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AUGUSTA, Ga. – Tiger Woods shot 73 Thursday in the first round of the Masters and sits nine shots behind leader Jordan Spieth. He is tied for 41st place.

Surprisingly, it was Woods’ much-maligned short game that was the strongest part of his performance.

“I felt good,” he said. “I felt like I hit the ball well enough to shoot 3 under par.”

A three-putt bogey on the opening hole quickly put a damper on the buzz around Augusta National. But a birdie on the second hole kicked the interest up again.

After a bogey on No. 4, a birdie on the par-5 eighth hole got Woods back to even par again but he butchered the par-4 ninth hole and was lucky to escape that hole with only a bogey.

Woods shot even par on the back nine and made key scrambles on Nos. 10-13.

“You know, I’m still in it. I’m only nine back,” he said. “And we have a long way to go.”