On a day of impressive feats at Augusta National on Thursday, Tiger Woods turned in a few of his own.
Woods ended his 19-month wait to defend his fifth Masters title by putting together a bogey-free round of 4-under 68. That left him three shots off the lead of early leader Paul Casey.
Marking his 25 anniversary of his first Masters, Woods carded his first bogey-free opening round at Augusta, his first at the Masters overall since 2008 and his first in any major in 106 rounds.
The 68 was his best opening round of the five he has played as the defending champion.
“It was good all around,” Woods said of his game on Thursday. “There’s really nothing that, looking back on it, that I could have done a little bit better.
“Obviously, I could have made a few more puts. The putts just aren’t breaking, I missed all of the putts on the high side.”
Tiger Woods finds his groove at Augusta
There was little to foreshadow Woods’ 4 under round, which included three birdies in a four-hole stretch from Nos. 13-16 on his opening nine holes. This is only his seventh start since the PGA Tour resumed play in June, with a tie for 37th at the PGA Championship being his best finish over that stretch.
Woods had only posted one sub-70 score in his past 10 rounds entering Thursday.
But he always seems to flip a switch when he arrives at Augusta, which Woods chalks up to the experience of 25 years.
“There is a sense of ease when I come here,” he said. “Just because I know how to prepare for this golf course. And there is no other major that plays every year at the same venue.”
Woods said “everything” was working well on Thursday. He’ll now wait to see when he’ll be able to get on the course Friday afternoon due to the weather delay shortly after the first round began.
“There’s nothing that I felt that I did poorly,” he said. “And I look forward to whenever I play tomorrow … some time.”
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)