Tiger Woods labors, limps to first-round 74 at Masters

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Tiger Woods couldn’t take advantage of the favourable conditions at Augusta National on Thursday, fighting with his irons and putter on his way to a pedestrian 2-over 74 in the first round of the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga.
His round was three shots worse than his first round a year ago.

With a “sore” right leg, a torrid pace set by a member of his threesome and Mother Nature poised to turn against the golfers on Friday, Woods is likely on his way to missing the cut.

“Most of the guys are going low today,” Woods told reporters after his round.” This was the day to do it. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be a little bit better, a little bit sharper, and kind of inch my way through it.”

Woods carded five bogeys for his round but did birdie two of the par 5s. He fashioned back-to-back birdies on Nos. 15 and 16. Woods sank a left-to-right 27-foot putt for birdie on the 15th and followed it up with an 8-footer on the par-3 16th.

However, he couldn’t get up-and-down on 18, posting another bogey to cap the fifth competitive round of golf Woods has played this year.

“I didn’t have very good speed early,” Woods said. “I had two three-putts, and consequently I’m a couple over par. I didn’t hit my irons close enough today.

“I didn’t give myself very good looks. Need to do a better job of that goingforward to hopefully get myself back in this tournament.”

Viktor Hovland of Norway, playing with Woods on Thursday and again in Friday’s second round, fired a 7-under 65 to take the early clubhouse lead with Spain’s Jon Rahm. The final member of Woods’ group, Xander Schauffele, recorded a 4-under 68.

Woods, 47, said after his round he couldn’t get in close enough with his irons to compete. When asked how his leg felt, he said “sore.”

Showers are possible Friday morning in Augusta. The best chance of showers will be Friday afternoon into the early evening, leading to temperatures dropping into the 50s on Saturday.