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Page last updated at 00:23 GMT, Friday, 10 April 2009 01:23 UK
Masters 2009

Augusta - 9-12 April, 2009

-7 C Campbell -6 H Mahan, J Furyk -5 S Katayama (Jap), L Mize

Highlights - Woods on the 11th

Tiger Woods said he was happy with his ball striking as his first round in major golf for 10 months saw him make a solid start in the Masters at Augusta.

Woods was one over after eight holes, while others were making birdies for fun, but he ended the day on two under, just five shots off the pace.

He said: "I let a couple of shots slips away towards the end but overall I'm happy with the way I hit the golf ball.

"The course was all set up - you could definitely go get a score today."

Woods hit some fine iron shots, and he found a good rhythm with the driver too. The putting, often his strongest suit, let him down - as he readily admitted afterwards.

It was unbelievable. I hit just a little eight iron and it flew 155 yards, uphill

Tigers Woods on bogeying the 18th

"It was a relief to get that birdie at the ninth. I didn't make anything for the first eight holes. I was in position, just didn't make any putts," he added.

Woods, seeking a 15th major and a fifth Masters title, had knee surgery last season soon after winning the US Open in June.

Though his preparation for this tournament had been far from ideal he still started as the hot favourite.

However, all did not go according to plan and after a bogey four at the sixth, he needed the birdie at the ninth to start the back nine back at level par.

A wayward drive at the 11th was rescued with an approach from the pine straw that gave him a chance of another birdie.

And though that was missed, he two-putted for his second birdie at 13, and holed a long putt at 14 for a third to move to two under.


Again, he had the luxury of a two-putt birdie at 15, which he gladly took, before starting the last three holes on three under and with some momentum.

But he missed golden chances for more birdies at 16 and 17 - and bogeyed the 18th following a rare error with his approach.

"It was unbelievable," Woods said of the shot that bounced over the green. "I hit just a little eight iron and it flew 155 yards, uphill.

"That's a long way to hit. I thought it was like a little, three-quarter eight-iron. I hit a good shot and it ended up in a bad spot.

"I let a couple of shots slip away at the end there."

Greg Norman, the 54-year-old Australian who twice came so agonisingly close to winning the Masters as a younger man, reminded the galleries of his prowess over these fairways with an attractive round of 70.

It's an extremely demanding tournament, but I know what it takes to win it and I certainly come here with that mind

South Africa's Tim Clark, tied for sixth place at four under

His wife Chris Evert watched his every shot, and Norman said her constant presence on the course was a big help.

"I know exactly where she is and I know her voice too," he said. "She likes me to know where she is too, which is great.

"There are times when you're not feeling great and you can look over and she'll give you the thumbs up signal, button down or whatever signal it is we have that means you just refocus and get back into it."

Another golden oldie scoring well was Bernhard Langer, 51, the German with two past wins at Augusta.

After matching Norman and Woods with a two-under-par round, he said: "I started making a few putts from 12 to 15 feet range and kept the ball in play for the most part - there were only a few crooked shots out there.

"I was probably fortunate to chip in on 17 but I still believe I can challenge."

South African legend Gary Player, making his last visit to the Masters at age 73, far from disgraced himself as he went round Amen Corner in level par on the way to a 78.

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see also
Masters photos
09 Apr 09 |  Golf
Augusta tee-off times
07 Apr 09 |  Golf

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