European Tour

Tough start for Woods at Open

Tiger Woods (AFP)
Tiger Woods (AFP)

Hoylake - Tiger Woods began his opening round in nervous fashion at the British Open on Thursday with bogeys at his two opening holes.

The American icon parred the third and then began to hit his stride with his first birdie of the day at the par five fifth to lie one over for the day and four shots off the lead.

In front of packed crowds on a sun-kissed morning at the par-72 Royal Liverpool layout, the champion the last time it was played here in 2006 hit his opening tee shot to the right-hand side of the fairway at the first before finding a greenside pot bunker with his approach.

His shot from the sand was overhit and rolled off the back of the green and it took two good putts just to save bogey.

Playing partner Angel Cabrera of Argentina was the only one of the trio, that also included Swedish world number two Henrik Stenson, to use his driver off the opening tee.

The 44-year-old make a solid par while Sweden's Stenson, who is bidding to become the first Scandinavian to win a major, also made bogey when he too found a greenside bunker on his approach from the middle of the fairway.

The body language of Woods appeared to show the early pressure of playing only his third round of golf since back surgery in late March was taking an early toll as the former world number one cut a frustrated figure.

At the second, he again opted for a two iron and found the short rough but a superb approach shot to the par four second set him up for a birdie chance.

However, he slid an aggressive attempt for three, four feet past the hole and to gasps from the crowd, missed his short putt for par.

Stenson played the hole in textbook fashion as he found the green in regulation and picked up his first par of the day while Cabrera was also sharing a nervous start with Woods as he too made bogey.

The third hole saw Woods steady the ship temporarily with a good approach shot to the 426 yard par four where he two putted for his first par of the round.

A second par at the shortest par four on the course at number four kept Woods from slipping to three over after he saved the hole with a key eight foot putt.

Sweden's Robert Karlsson and Spaniard Sergio Garcia shared the early lead on three under par with a group of nine players locked on two under and one shot adrift.

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