Skip to main content

Woods trails leader Westwood by five after battling 72 at Augusta

updated 7:42 AM EDT, Fri April 6, 2012
Tiger Woods tees off on the ninth hole at Augusta National during his opening round at the U.S. Masters.
Tiger Woods tees off on the ninth hole at Augusta National during his opening round at the U.S. Masters.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tiger Woods shoots level-par 72 in opening round of Masters
  • Woods bidding for his 15th major title but first since 2008
  • World No. 3 Lee Westwood of England leads after first-round 67
  • Second-ranked Rory McIlroy finishes with two birdies for a 71

(CNN) -- Tiger Woods trailed first-round leader Lee Westwood by five shots after battling to a level-par 72 in the opening round of the Masters at Augusta National Thursday.

The former world number one, bidding for his 15th major title but first since 2008, came into the tournament as favorite after his victory in the Arnold Palmer Invitational last month.

After Palmer, celebrating the 50th anniversary of his 1962 Masters win, and two other legends, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus performed their ceremonial starter duties, the world's elite golfers began their bids for glory in the season's opening major.

Woods, among the morning starters, hit two snap hooks at his opening two holes, both times ending in the trees to the left of the fairway.

But showing typical fighting qualities, the four-time Masters champion, saved par on each occasion and then went one-under by holing a nine-foot putt for birdie on the third.

A further birdie on the 10th saw Woods move up the leaderboard, but he could not take advantage of either of the par-fives coming home.

I squeezed a lot out of that round, one of those rounds when I had to fight
Tiger Woods

His tee shot on the 17th left him out of position and after finding a greenside bunker he dropped his first shot of the day.

The 18th brought further problems and he was forced to take a drop from the trees before missing the green with his third shot.

Woods conjured up a superb shot from off the green and holed the putt for a bogey five to avoid going over par for the day.

He admitted after his round that he had been struggling to find his best form.

"I didn't hit it very good," he told Sky Sports. "I squeezed a lot out of that round, one of those rounds when I had to fight."

With the course wet from thunderstorms which hit the American South, organizers compounded the difficulty by setting difficult pin positions.

"It was brutal out there," said Woods.

England's Westwood, a later starter, made a superb start in his bid for a first major title.

The world No. 3 had four straight birdies from the fifth to turn in 32 and his only dropped shot came at the 10th.

Further birdies at the 13th and 17th saw him card a 67 to lead South Africa's 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and Sweden's Peter Hanson by a shot.

Henrik Stenson looked set to set the first-round pace as he stood six under through the 15th, but he bogeyed the 16th and worse was to follow at the last.

Finding a similar place in the trees as Woods, the Swede made a mess of his recovery and eventually three-putted for a quadruple-bogey eight to take him back to one-under 71.

Defending champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa opened with a level par 72 while world No. 1 Luke Donald finished with a disappointing 75, the same mark as three-time champion Phil Mickelson.

World No. 2 Rory McIlroy, like Woods favored for eventual victory, sustained his challenge by finishing with two birdies to card a challenging 71.

The young Northern Irishman, who led going into the last nine holes at Augusta last year before a disastrous collapse, started with a double bogey, but kept his composure to stay in the hunt.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:51 AM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
It's a big dilemma: Be with your wife for the birth of your first child, or stay at work and try to earn $11 million. For Billy Horschel, it's a no-brainer.
updated 7:40 AM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
She's just 19 but Hyo Joo Kim is already showing she's ready for the big time after recording the lowest ever round at a major championship.
updated 1:06 PM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
Masters champion Bubba Watson says winning the $10 million FedEx Cup jackpot would bring forward his retirement from the game.
updated 7:31 AM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
EVIAN-LES-BAINS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 15: A view of the 14th green during the third round of The Evian Championship at the Evian Resort Golf Club on September 15, 2013 in Evian-les-Bains, France. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
The world's top women golfers will be chasing a $3.25 million prize purse at one of the most stunning courses on the LPGA Tour.
updated 8:19 AM EDT, Wed September 3, 2014
Tom Watson selects Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson as his wildcard picks for the Ryder Cup contest with Europe.
updated 9:52 AM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
Ian Poulter kept Europe clinging on in their Ryder Cup battle with the United States in Chicago.
Ian Poulter, who has constantly haunted the U.S. in Ryder Cup golf, is back after being chosen as a wildcard by European captain Paul McGinley.
updated 11:40 AM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Tiger Woods has split with his longtime coach Sean Foley after not winning a major during their four-year tenure.
updated 7:05 AM EDT, Mon August 11, 2014
Success just keeps on coming for Rory McIlroy, but the world No. 1 is already targeting more titles following his second PGA Championship win.
updated 10:24 AM EDT, Fri August 8, 2014
From Seve's "spine-shivering" moment to Jack Nicklaus' "perfect explosion," David Cannon has captured many of golf's defining images.
updated 9:20 AM EDT, Thu August 7, 2014
They came home as casualties of war -- physically shattered and mentally broken. But golf is proving to be an unlikely salvation for U.S. veterans.
updated 8:31 AM EDT, Tue August 5, 2014
You are the one hitting the shots, but the man standing over your shoulder could hold the key to your golfing destiny.
updated 8:27 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
PINEHURST, NC - JUNE 10: Rory McIlroy (R) of Northern Ireland talks with his dad Gerry McIlroy (L) during a practice round prior to the start of the 114th U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, Course No. 2 on June 10, 2014 in Pinehurst, North Carolina. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
He has been there for all three of his son's major wins, but the latest triumph may well have been the sweetest yet for Rory McIlroy's father.
ADVERTISEMENT