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Woods starts strong, finishes with 71

Field Level Media
July 19. 2018 7:47PM
Tiger Woods gestures to the crowd after his first round (REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff)

Thursday’s performance review is a matter of perspective for Tiger Woods.

On one hand, Woods started strong early and finished within striking distance of the leaders in the first round of the British Open after shooting 71 at Carnoustie Golf Links in Angus, Scotland.

On the other hand, three bogeys on the back nine cost him a chance at beginning the prestigious tournament under par and higher on the leaderboard.

Woods, who raised a few eyebrows taking the course wearing kinesiology tape to deal with neck pain after sleeping awkwardly, opened in fine fashion with a pair of birdies in the first four holes to quickly jump to 2 under. But he stumbled on the back nine to finish at even par with a 71, five strokes behind American Kevin Kisner atop the scoreboard.

It was the first time Woods scored par or better in the first round at the British Open since Hoye Lake in 2014 when he shot 69. He missed the cut at St. Andrews in 2015 and did not play the tournament in each of the past two years. This weekend marks the 13th major the 42-year-old has played since 2013, and Thursday is the fourth time he’s shot even par or better in the opening round. Three of those occurred at the British Open.

“I birdied 1, birdied 4 and got there on 6,” Woods said afterward, reflecting on his first round. “Part of this afternoon wave, I was one of the lower rounds. I don’t know what the forecast is for tomorrow if it’s still for rain, but I’m sure this golf course will slow up a touch.”

“It played a little on the quick side out there,” Woods said afterward. “I thought I played a pretty solid round.”

Woods was quick to dispel any concern over his neck, calling his use of kinesiology tape “no big deal.”

Woods, still looking for that elusive 15th victory in a major tournament, returned to the PGA Tour in 2018 after recovering from his fourth back surgery. He has finished in the top five three times and in the top 12 five times in 11 events.

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