Miami: Tiger Woods dug deep to card his first sub-par tournament start since 2015, fighting through blustery conditions to shoot a one-under-par 70 in the opening round of the Valspar Championship.
The latest leg of the 14-time major winner’s comeback was a roller coaster affair on the challenging par-71 Copperhead Course at the Innisbrook Resort northwest of Tampa, Florida.
The 42-year-old former world number one shot five birdies, four bogeys and nine pars to finish the day with a cluster of 20 players who were three back from first-round leader Corey Conners, who posted a four-under-par 67.
Woods said afterward he was satisfied with how his game had held up in conditions he described as “brutal.”
“Today was a very good test of all the things that I’m trying to implement,” Woods said.
“The winds out there were howling and swirling but I felt like I really controlled the ball well for most of the day.
“I’m still working on it. I’m getting a little better, piece by piece.” Woods got off to a dream start on the 560-yard par-five first hole, reaching the green in three to set up a tap-in for an easy birdie.
After missing two long birdie putts on the third and fourth holes for back-to-back pars, Woods dropped a shot on the par-three fourth after over-hitting off the tee.
He then made his third par of the day on the 605-yard par-five fifth, before having another birdie chance on the sixth where his 23-foot putt came up just short.