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Page last updated at 22:28 GMT, Thursday, 29 April 2010 23:28 UK

Tiger Woods opens with round of 74 at Quail Hollow

First round leaderboard:
-7 B van Pelt (US) -6 K Perry (US) -5 C Villegas (Col)
Selected others:-2 Phil Mickelson (US) +1 Lee Westwood (Eng) +2 Tiger Woods (US)

Tiger Woods
Woods was perplexed by his wayward form in Charlotte

Tiger Woods endured a disappointing start to the Quail Hollow Championship with four bogeys and a double bogey in a two-over-par opening round of 74.

The world number one trailed leader Bo van Pelt by nine strokes in Charlotte with a third American Kenny Perry one stroke adrift on six under.

Colombia's Camilo Villegas ended two adrift, while Masters champion Phil Mickelson opened with a round of 70.

Augusta runner-up Lee Westwood of England could only manage a 73.

Scotland's Martin Laird, Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, Irishman Padraig Harrington and England's Ross Fisher all carded level-par rounds of 72.

After coming fourth in the Masters following a self-imposed 144-day absence from tournament golf, Woods took a further two-and-a-half week break before returning in North Carolina.

He received a rousing welcome at Quail Hollow, starting on the 10th with a birdie, only to drop five shots in nine holes after struggling off the tee.

A drive into the left rough on the 12th hole led to his first bogey, and he had to battle to save par from near a holly tree on the 15th.

I hit a bunch of balls left, I hit a bunch of balls right... I'm not going to the range today. To hell with it

Tiger Woods

On the par-three 17th, his first tee shot flew into the water, and although his second stuck to the green he could not make a 30-footer and came away with a double bogey.

The problems continued on the par-four 18th when his drive ended up in a creek along the left side. He came up short of the green after taking a penalty stroke, then chipped to three feet for a bogey.

After another dropped shot at the first, a birdie two at the second was the catalyst for a recovery which saw him haul himself back to one over, but a closing bogey left him with work to do to make the cut on Friday.

Woods admitted afterwards that he was perplexed by his poor play. "It was a terrible day. I just didn't have it today," he said.

"I was dropping balls out of hazards and finding balls in trees. I was struggling so bad, I didn't know which way I was going to go, whether I was going left or right.

"I hit a bunch of balls left, I hit a bunch of balls right, hit a few down the middle, and that was about it."

Evidently angered by his poor play, he opted against attempting to put right his errors.

"I'm not going to the range today. To hell with it," he added.

Woods insisted beforehand he would be able to withstand any abuse coming his way - a likelier proposition than at the tightly controlled Augusta National. But the response from the packed galleries who followed him on a cool morning was almost entirely positive.

Sam Spencer-Ades

When he birdied his first hole, the crowd erupted and one fan yelled out "It's good to have you back, Tiger!"

Woods nodded by way of acknowledgement, but his golf gave them scant opportunity to show their appreciation from then on.

A winner of 14 majors, Woods stepped away from golf last November after a series of damaging revelations about his private life.

Despite struggling with inconsistencies, he had an encouraging result at Augusta in the first major of the season.

Woods's next confirmed engagement is the Players Championship, at Sawgrass in Florida, from 6 May.

Mickelson withdrew from Wednesday's pro-am complaining of dehydration and was put on an intravenous drip but recovered in time to make it to the first tee.

The last two times I've fainted and woken up in a pool of vomit, I've won

Phil Mickelson

After five birdies and a single bogey he was four under after 15 but dropped two shots at the final two holes.

"I may have run out of a little bit of energy there towards the end, but I hit some good shots and was able to shoot a decent round," he said.

He pointed out that the last time he was sick, in Miami last year, he won the WGC-CA Championship.

"The last two times I've fainted and woken up in a pool of vomit, I've won," he said.

Van Pelt, who claimed his first PGA Tour win at the Milwaukee Championship last year, had gone through 10 different putters this season before finally giving the one he won with last July another go.

"I was temporarily insane for about eight weeks," said Van Pelt after his excellent 65.

"I was changing putters all the time and trying new stuff and finally went back to an old putter I had used for about four-and-a-half years that I won with last year.

"I guess I've got a lot of good feelings with that putter so it was just good to have it back in my hands."

England's Greg Owen ended two over and countryman Brian Davis was four over.

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see also
Woods upbeat ahead of next event
23 Apr 10 |  Golf
Woods to compete in Players event
21 Apr 10 |  Golf
Woods to 'take break' from golf
12 Apr 10 |  Golf
Mickelson seals third Masters win
11 Apr 10 |  Golf
Woods 'failed to be a role model'
08 Apr 10 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf

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