Tiger Woods launches unlikely Masters quest with one-under 71

Woods, whose February 2021 auto accident left him with injuries so extreme he feared he could shed his best leg, was 4 shots behind leader Im Sung-jae

Tiger Woods gotten in touch with every one of his hard-won endurance and also the expertise obtained in 5 previous victories to introduce his boldest Masters quote yet with a one-under-par 71 at Augusta National on Thursday.

The 46-year-old super star, whose February 2021 auto accident left him with injuries so extreme he feared he could shed his best leg, stated simply having the ability to play his initial affordable round in 17 months was a triumph.

However it could not be the just one he commemorates today.

” I had the ability to end up at a loss,” Woods stated. “I’m best where I require to be.”

Woods was linked for 10th, 4 shots behind South Oriental Im Sung-jae, that released his round with 3 straight birdies and also completed with 5 birdies and also an eagle in his five-under-par 67.

Australian Cameron Smith, chasing after a very first significant title, was a stroke back after a 68 that was even more amazing considering it was bookended by dual bogeys at the initial and also 18th openings.

Woods had actually suggested as just recently as February that he was not likely to be prepared to tee it up in the initial significant of the year, and also stated all week that his most significant difficulty would certainly be bargaining the sloping, 7,510-yard Augusta National training course on his operatively fixed best leg.

” It did not obtain much easier, allow’s place it in this way,” he stated after a round in gusting winds that lasted almost 5 and also a fifty percent hrs. “I can turn a golf club. The strolling’s hard.

” With all the effort, my leg, it’s mosting likely to be challenging for the remainder of my life.”

Woods stated he was buoyed by the adrenaline thrill of significant competitors.

” I imply, the location was electrical,” stated Woods, that had not played before followers at Augusta National because his 2019 victory finished his 11-year significant dry spell and also sealed his return from spine combination surgical treatment.

Woods reduced a vivid number in a warm pink t-shirt and also black pants, hundreds of followers on the training course stressing to capture his every action.

A 30-minute hold-up to the begin as a result of pre-dawn electrical storms just heightened the expectancy for Woods’s look on the initial tee, where he was welcomed with rapturous praise.

Woods had not been thrilled with his opening up drive, which lost of the best fairway shelter. His method flowed off the environment-friendly however he drained pipes a 10-foot the same level conserving putt.

It was simply the initial the same level save money on a day when Woods struck 8 of 14 fairways in guideline and also simply 9 of 18 eco-friendlies.

” I recognize where to strike it to a great deal of these pins, and also I miss out on in the right areas and also provide myself excellent angles,” Woods stated.

After seeing a 15-foot birdie putt lip out at the 5th, he stuck his tee shot on the par-three 6th 2 feet from the pin for his initial birdie.

After a bogey at the par-five eighth– where “3 poor shots straight” were Woods’s most significant dissatisfaction of the day– Woods two-putted from 24 feet for a birdie at 13.

He provided a fired back at 14, however crinkled in a 29-foot birdie putt at 16 prior to draining pipes an additional par-saving 10-footer at the last.

Must-watch Woods

” You simply can’t not enjoy him,” stated Smith, that confessed he could not stand up to making note of Woods’s development also as his very own amazing round unravelled.

After his stuttering begin, Smith had 8 birdies to get to six-under prior to he gathered an additional dual.

At the same time, preliminary leader Im– that ended up linked for 2nd on his Masters launching in 2020– powered up the leaderboard with a triad of birdies on his initial 3 openings.

While delighted by his preliminary efficiency, Im warned that he would certainly stay “modest.”

” I understand I still have 3 days to go,” he stated.

England’s Danny Willett, the 2016 Masters champ, Chile’s Joaquin Niemann, globe leading Scottie Scheffler and also two-time significant victor Dustin Johnson remained in the club on three-under.

Niemann, 23, played along with Woods, and also stated the group was so loud that he could not hear his caddie at the initial tee.

Currently Woods followers– and also somewhat Woods himself– will certainly invest the evening questioning what Friday will certainly bring.

” My group has actually been unbelievable at obtaining me right into this placement to make sure that I can complete,” Woods stated. “I’ll take it from there.”

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