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Tiger 'satisfied' with opening 70

Bob Harig
April 11, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Tiger Woods played well alongside Luke Donald © Getty Images
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Tiger Woods never has been much of a fast starter at Augusta National, and that trend continued Thursday during the opening round of the 77th Masters.

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Woods, a four-time champion, shot a two-under par round of 70, a score he has posted on four previous occasions during the opening round. Of course, he went on to win three of those times. But on a day in which conditions were not overly difficult, there was a feeling Woods left a few strokes on the course.

When he finished, he trailed Australia's Marc Leishman by four strokes. Leishman made four straight birdies on the back nine on the way to a 6-under 66.

Woods said he was "very satisfied" with his play following the round.

"It was a very solid day," Woods added. "I'm very pleased with the result. There's a long way to go.

"There were a couple of different pins out there, some of them interesting. They've also brought the driving back into play, but they've taken away the short game a little bit.

"It was benign, especially starting out. The wind picked up in the middle part of the round and it got a little bit swirly there at Amen Corner, as usual.

"But overall I think the biggest challenge today was just the speed of the greens. They just weren't quite there. They looked it, but just weren't quite putting it."

England's David Lynn, playing in his first Masters and just his third major championship, shot 68. Jim Furyk was among those who shot 69.

Woods is playing in the Masters for the 19th time and only once has he broken 70 in the first round. That came in 2010, the year he made his season debut at the Masters and eventually tied for fourth.

Despite a solid start, Woods was unable to crack the 70 barrier again Thursday. A bogey at the 14th, followed by a disappointing par at the 15th were the main reasons for failing to get into the 60s.

Woods clearly was not happy with his second shot to the par-5 15th after a huge drive set up what should have been a good eagle chance. But Woods couldn't get up and down, and played the par-5s in 2 under.

That's better than last year, when he managed to play par-5s in just one-under - and never birdied any on the back nine. He tied for 40th last year, his worst finish as a pro at the Masters.

Woods failed to give himself good birdie opportunities early in his round at the second and third holes when he had a wedge for approach shots. In fact, he missed the third green and had to navigate a tricky third to save par.

He made his first birdie of the day at the par-3 6th, added another at the par-5 8th, then played Amen Corner in one-under by birdieing the 13th, having knocked his approach on the green and setting up a long two-putt.

Woods pulled his approach to the 14th, and three-putted for his first bogey of the tournament. And then he was disgusted with himself when missing the 15th green after a perfect drive.

He came into the tournament on a roll, having won his past two starts at the WGC-Cadillac Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational, where in both events he exhibited some of the best putting of his career.

That pushed him back to No. 1 in the world, with plenty of expectations coming to the Masters, where he has not won since 2005.

"Obviously, I'm not real happy with the fact that I haven't won more," Woods said prior to the tournament. "I've been in the mix and I just haven't gotten it done. But the whole idea is to give myself opportunities."

This article originally appeared on ESPN.com

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