Tiger makes a Masters logjam look even larger

Posted April 15, 2019

Phil Mickelson felt this year's rule change regarding spike marks proved significant as the first-round leaderboard at the Masters was topped by a host of late starters on day one.

The booming drives seemed the same on a day when the ball was carrying far for everyone.

Woods made four birdies and two bogeys, the last coming at the par-4 17th when he found the trees off the tee and could not get up and down from the left front of the green.

And perhaps the most important thing?

And yet, three of his four victories - 1997, 2001 and 2002 - came after opening the tournament with a 70. He's 10 under on the par 5s, matching his total for four rounds in his Masters debut a year ago, when he tied for 10th. Hard to imagine then, but that's the last time anyone was sizing Woods up for a green jacket.

The good news for Woods is nobody went insane low on a day that seemed ripe for scoring, with soft conditions, warm temperatures and manageable wind.

"The whole idea is to try and peak for four times a year", Woods said.

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He almost aced the par-three 16th and a birdie at 18 put Mickelson one shot in front of 43-year-old Ian Poulter and 34-year-old Dustin Johnson, who shared fourth place on 68.

If the start was decent, it wasn't great.

Woods begins the second round at 1:49 p.m. ET on Friday with Jon Rahm, who shot 69, and Haotong Li, who shot 72.

Tiger Woods is close to the top of the leaderboard at 2-under after making a short birdie putt on No. 13.

It was a transcendent sporting moment that made a 7-year-old kid of Tongan and American Samoa descent, growing up in Utah, dream of wearing his own green jacket someday.

"I don't want to say you kind of black out, but you're not really thinking about anything", he said of his hot stretch.

But the 2013 Masters victor missed a short par putt on the par-3 16th - the bogey dropping him back into a tie for the lead at seven under alongside Day.

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Whether he can stay there depends as much on his mindset as his putting stroke.

"Yeah, I keep pretty much the same routine for all the majors", said Koepka, who has won three majors, including the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship past year.

Although Scott's six-shot Sunday deficit would not break a record - and is attainable - the 38-year-old guessed he would need to shoot 61 to win at Augusta National once again.

He's 43 now, an age where the 5-footers that were once automatic don't always go in.

Meanwhile, Tiger Woods insisted he had suffered no ill effects following a freakish incident which threatened to derail his thrilling charge into contention at the 83rd Masters. "So it's a matter of missing the golf ball in the correct spots and picking your spots and when to be aggressive". "And so I feel like my body's good and my game's good".

He stood out as an example of why the PGA Tour believes some other tours might be getting too many world ranking points based on weaker fields. "I hit a bad shot; just got to suck it up and just keep going on".

"There's birdie opportunities. I can accept mistakes if I'm trying and it's not a mental error or I haven't got into places, so I can accept some mistakes".

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