Tiger Woods shoots 68 at Deutsche
NORTON, Mass. -- Tiger Woods showed no ill effects from the back spasms that dogged him during the Barclays a week ago, carding a 3-under 68 in the first round of the Deutsche Bank Championship on Friday.
"I feel good," Woods said after his round. "The back is fine, all good." Asked if it bothered him at all, Woods said no.
"It helped having that extra day off," he said. "It made a difference."
His four-birdie, one-bogey performance left Woods five shots back of playing partner Phil Mickelson. The 2013 British Open champ's 8-under 63 made him the early leader for the tournament. Adam Scott filled out the star-studded grouping, which teed off at 8:40 a.m. ET, and finished the day at 2 over.
"It was decent today," Woods said of his round. "I didn't hit it as well as I'd like to. ... It could be a little better, for sure."
Things could've gotten away early from Woods, who is seeking his 80th PGA Tour win and third FedEx Cup playoffs title, when his second shot on his first hole, No. 10, found a bunker. But Woods was able to get up and down, sinking the par putt and keeping himself from falling behind right out of the gate. He then birdied 11 and 16, making the turn at 2-under.
While Woods was steady on the first nine holes, Mickelson was excellent as he birdied seven of the first nine holes, including five in a row as the group made the turn. Both Mickelson and Woods bogeyed the 365-yard, par-4 first to start the second nine, the first time either carded worse than par on the day.
But on the next hole, a 542-yard, par-5, both rallied. Woods chipped his third shot from the edge of the green, over a small hill, to within a few feet of the cup, where he would tap in for birdie.
Mickelson did him one better, sticking his second shot close to the pin and tapping in for eagle. The trio all made par on the next three holes, before Woods rolled in a putt from about 20 feet on No. 6 for birdie, raising his club in celebration as the ball dropped in. With a shot to go to 4 under and pull within four shots of Mickelson with three holes left in the day, Woods just missed a long birdie putt. After the ball slipped by the hole, Woods stared at it for a moment in disbelief. He then tapped in for par.
"Today was a decent day," Woods said. "I didn't hit the ball as well as I'd like to but I scored all right. Missed a few opportunities out there. The golf course is really receptive and certainly gettable. There are a lot of good scores out there, and most of the guys are under par today."