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Tiger Woods didn’t waste any time moving into contention at the British Open with a birdie from 10 feet at the opening par-3 first.
He added three more over his next six holes and made the turn in 30. Then he hit a wall.
Woods closed with 10 pars and a bogey, finishing his round with 10 straight two-putts. Still, Woods is in good shape after an opening-round 67.
It was the fifth time in his last six starts at the British Open that Woods has opened with a round in the 60s. Two of those, he went on to win (in 2005 and 2006).
“I played well,” said Woods, who missed just one fairway and more importantly avoided all 205 bunkers at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. “I’m right there. I’m only three back. We’ve got a long way to go.”
If Woods continues to play the way he did Thursday, Woods figures to be in it for the long haul.
On the par-3 opening hole, Woods stiffed a 5-iron right at the flag in benign and windless conditions.
Three holes later, he rolled in another birdie from 18 feet before adding another on No. 6 and getting up and down for birdie on the par-5 seventh.
Woods’ best shot, however, might have come on the 10th, where he found the green after hitting into a deep divot. Woods leaned heavily into the shaft, hit the ball onto the green and two-putted to save par.
If there was an area where Woods wasn’t as sharp, it was on the slow putting greens.
“I kept hitting it well,” Woods said. “My pace was just slightly off on the greens. Every putt was starting on my line. I just needed to hit them probably 6 inches harder.”
On the 15th, meanwhile, Woods missed his only fairway of the day and it cost him.
After hitting into the tall grass left of the fairway on the 462-yard par 4, the rough wrapped around Woods shaft as he tried to play back to the fairway. Instead, his ball stayed left and in the rough.
Woods’ next shot found the green, but he wasn’t able to make the lengthy par putt.
For Woods, it was his ninth sub-70 in the opening round of the British Open, which he has won three times.