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Tiger Woods labels steady Masters return 'awesome'

06 April 2018

Woods was back at Augusta National for the first time in three years, finally ready to challenge for a fifth green jacket after spinal fusion surgery last year.

He said the birdie he made at the 13th, after landing in a greenside bunker, was the "best up and down I've made all year", adding: "I played a solid round and to shoot something in the 60s, I'm really happy with that". I don't do well in domes or driving range shots.

Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley told the crowd crammed around the first tee how privileged they were to have the duo with nine green jackets to start the tournament.

Now 61, O'Meara said he could no longer hit the ball far enough to compete around Augusta National.

He followed, however, with back-to-back bogeys.

The larger life story is now told in a new biography, "Tiger Woods", by veteran sports journalists Jeff Benedict, and Armen Keteyian, who joins me now from NY. Sure he hit another 66 on day one but it could be McIlroy, Kuchar or Mickelson's turn to do so today. "Unfortunately people ran out and it clipped them". Thus, giving Johnson a nudge to be co-favorite is just right for all the golf enthusiasts.

"It was up there in my top three rounds out here", said Spieth.

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"I could have easily let the round slip away from me, but I got it back", he said, brimming with that bravado of old.

"I definitely didn't score as well as I played".

Spieth says his putting stroke and iron play are approaching the levels that have also won him U.S. Open and British Open titles.

Spieth endured no such trouble as he produced a calm display and recorded five consecutive birdies on the back nine.

Amateur Harry Ellis had a nightmare, carding six bogeys, three double-bogeys and a triple-bogey on the 10th as he struggled to a 14-over-par 86 which featured a solitary birdie on the eighth.

"I felt like I putted well, but I didn't putt amazingly well". He had to punch out of the trees sideways, landed his third shot left of the green, and made a deft pitch to within inches of the hole.

The 11th brought more problem as his tee shot sailed way from the fairway. But Garcia's tee shot left him just 206 yards to the pin. "I survived", Frittelli said. "Sometimes that happens, and most of the time it doesn't".

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Additionally, all three of the previous winners - Garcia, Willett, and Spieth - hadn't previously won a major championship. Each of the last six masters champions has entered the week ranked seventh or better in strokes gained tee-to-green.

As captured on ESPN, Finau sprained his left ankle while celebrating a hole-in-one during the Par-3 contest Wednesday.

Spieth, who has two runner-up finishes and a runaway victory at the last four Masters, has plenty of heavy-hitters stalking him.

Kuchar had five birdies on the back nine to join him on 68.

His first competitive round at the Masters in three years certainly wasn't the best one for Tiger Woods.

Elsewhere on the course, Henrik Stenson also claimed a share of the lead but ultimately turned in a 3-under round to put himself in a seven-way tie for 4th place with the likes of Patrick Reed, Charley Hoffman and Rory McIlroy.

World No9 Garcia plunged five balls into the water on the par five 15th, recording the highest number of strokes to navigate the hole in the tournament's history, while posting the worst score on any hole at Augusta since 1980.

"Obviously I shot 81, which is not great", Garcia said.

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Tiger Woods labels steady Masters return 'awesome'