TIGER WOODS put himself right in contention on day one of the Masters, while Rory McIlroy left himself with plenty to do today after a topsy-turvy opening round at Augusta.
Woods, who hasn’t shown particularly good form in the early months of 2019, made four birdies in his opening round of 70.
The 43-year-old great went to the clubhouse on two under. He was one shot off the early lead, after three players posted rounds of three-under 69 — South African Justin Harding, Australian Adam Scott and Spain’s Jon Rahm.
Woods birdied the second, and after letting a shot slip at the fifth, picked up another birdie at the ninth to move to one under.
A fine second into the long 13th gave Woods two putts for birdie and then he produced a moment of real magic on the 14th. A wayward tee shot left him playing his second from the trees but it was a brilliant effort into the green and he nailed the 25-foot birdie putt.
Woods let another shot go on 17 but he looked a pretty happy man on the 18th as he rolled home a par putt to complete a decent day’s work.
‘I managed to execute my plan, I had a good solid day,’ said the four-time winner. ‘I tried to stay mistake free. It’s a good positive start.’
First rounds of 70 were also posted by Rickie Fowler, Corey Connors, JB Holmes, Gary Woodland, Lucas Bjerregaard and Cameron Smith.
Two birdies and two bogeys on the front nine saw McIlroy reach the turn at level par but he slipped back to two over after bogeys on ten and 11. The Northern Irishman kept his nerve, making a birdie on the 13th and then firing a glorious second shot into the 15th, giving him two putts for another birdie.
McIlroy was on the charge and when he curled home a 30-foot birdie putt on 16, he was in positive territory for the first time. But he dropped shots on 17 and 18 to finish with a one-over 73.
England’s Tommy Fleetwood carded a one-under 71, the same score as Louis Oosthuizen, Tony Finau and Charley Hoffman.