Hole by hole at the Masters: Tiger Woods finishes at four under [Updated through 18]
Tiger Woods opened the 2010 Masters today unlike anytime before, shooting a four-under-par 68 that put him on a big-name leaderboard that featured Fred Couples, new this year to the Champions Tour for those 50 and older, in the lead at 66.
Woods, a four-time champion at Augusta National Golf Club, had never broken 70 during the first round at the Masters. Helping him accomplish the feat today were a pair of eagles on the front nine, which he finished in three-under par. It was the first time he had eagled two holes in a round at Augusta.
The most surprising development of the first round was that 60-year-old Tom Watson moved into the early lead with a five-under 67. He was later tied by Lee Westwood, Phil Mickelson and Y.E. Yang. Couples eventually passed the leaders with a birdie on No. 17 and became the clubhouse leader with a six-under 66.
Tied for second place with Westwood, Mickelson and Yang was K.J. Choi, a playing partner of Woods today. Tied with Woods for seventh at 68 are Anthony Kim, Nick Watney, Ian Poulter and Ricky Barnes.
For Woods, the post-scandal chapter of his golf career began with a drive down the right side of Augusta National's first fairway, opening his Masters round and ending a 144-day hiatus that saw his name dominate the top of the gossip tabloids instead of the leaderboard.
Woods smiled and did a half-tip of his hat to a crowd that appeared to fill every open spot around the practice green and first tee, reaching all the way back to the clubhouse and Butler Cabin. Fans crouched, leaned and/or stood on tiptoes in hopes of catching a glimpse of the most anticipated tee shot in recent memory.
A huge cheer went up when Woods' name was announced, then settled down to allow him to focus on the shot. He took little time to pick up his line, getting a last-second word from caddie Steve Williams, and ripped his drive down Augusta National's expansive first fairway.
The four-time Masters champion was given the next-to-last tee time of today's opening round, paired with Korean pro Choi and former U.S. Amateur champion Matt Kuchar. Both playing partners also ripped their drives down the fairway.
Woods' drive may have rolled into a sprinklerhead, he was shown taking a free drop shortly after walking up to his ball.
Here's the hole-by-hole breakdown for Woods:
Hole No. 1
445 yards, par 4
Woods parred. On the green in two, then saw his 8-foot birdie attempt slide below the hole. Even-par for his round, four shots behind leader Tom Watson (4-under through 17).
Hole No. 2
575 yards, par 5
Woods parred. Went for the green in two, but hung his long approach out to the right and just short of a greenside bunker. Chipped past the hole, then missed a 20-foot downhill birdie attempt. Even-par for his round, five shots behind leader Tom Watson (completed 5-under-par 67).
Hole No. 3
350 yards, par 4
Woods birdied. Needed just a lob wedge for his approach on the short par-4, which he got to settle a mere 5 feet away from the flagstick. Now 1-under-par for his round, four shots behind leader Tom Watson (67).
Hole No. 4
240 yards, par 3
Woods parred. Overran the green with his long tee shot, but pitched back to within 4 feet and drained the par save. Remains 1-under-par for his round, four shots behind co-leaders Tom Watson and Lee Westwood (67s) and Phil Mickelson (5-under through 16).
Hole No. 5
455 yards, par 4
Woods parred. Recorded his first missed fairway when his drive drifted off right, then watched his approach from the rough barely roll onto the front of the green. Facing a long right-to-left birdie try, he lagged within 4 feet and saved par. Remains 1-under-par for the day, four shots behind co-leaders Tom Watson and Lee Westwood (67s) and Phil Mickelson and Y.E. Yang (both 5-under through 17).
Hole No. 6
180 yards, par 3
Woods parred. His 7-iron tee shot touched down on the back of the green, in the best position of his playing group. However, his 10-foot birdie attempt curled below the hole. Still at 1-under-par, four shots behind co-leaders Tom Watson and Lee Westwood (67s) and Phil Mickelson and Y.E. Yang (both 5-under through 17).
[Updated at 1:30 p.m.] Hole No. 7
450 yards, par 4
Woods bogeyed. A "stinger" fairway wood stayed left off the tee, leaving him in the short rough and with a narrow opening to the green. The gusting winds also knocked down an approach that barely reached the front fringe, and he was unable to save par. Back to even-par for the day, five shots behind co-leaders Tom Watson, Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood and Y.E. Yang (all 67s).
Hole No. 8
570 yards, par 5
Woods eagled. Facing 244 yards to the pin with the wind at his back, a 3-iron second shot carried just right of the green, hit a slope and kicked onto the putting surface – stopping 7 feet from the hole. With raindrops starting to fall, Tiger Woods stroked the putt in. Now 2-under-par, three shots off the lead.]
[Updated 1:44 p.m.] Hole No. 9
460 yards, par 4
Woods birdied. A wayward drive hit a tree branch left of the fairway and dropped short of the dogleg, 210 yards from the hole. But a sweeping hook found just the right line, rolling up the middle of the green and settling 12 feet behind the hole. Moves to 3-under-par, two shots off what's now a five-pack of leaders, joined by Nick Watney (5-under through 16).
Stats at the turn: 4 of 7 fairways / 7 of 9 greens / 14 total putts.]
[Updated: 2:05 p.m.] Hole No. 10
495 yards, par 4
Woods bogeyed. Clipped a tree branch left of the fairway for his second consecutive drive, leaving a 196-yard approach from the short rough that barely rolled onto the front of the elevated green but couldn't stay there. Pitched 6 feet behind the hole, then left his downhill putt just short. Back to 2-under-par, three behind the four clubhouse leaders. Nick Watney fell off the pace after a bogey at No. 17.
Current stats: 4 of 8 fairways / 7 of 10 greens / 16 total putts.]
[Updated: 2:24 p.m] Hole No. 11
505 yards, par 4
Woods parred. Third consecutive drive to hit a tree – this one sailing off to the right after he overcompensated for the two left misses, though the ball bounced back almost to the fairway. A club slam quickly followed, the golfer's first outburst after pledging to tone it down. Long iron approach rolled onto the front of the green, setting up a two-putt.
Still at 2-under-par, three behind the clubhouse leaders.
Current stats: 4 of 9 fairways / 8 of 11 greens / 18 total putts.]
[Updated 2:28 p.m.] Hole No. 12
155 yards, par 3
Woods parred. With the winds now dying down, perhaps the day's best tee shot at the dicey little par-3 touched down about 18 inches from the flagstick, spinning back a bit to leave a 5-foot birdie opportunity. But his putt hit the right edge of the cup and stayed out.
Stays at 2-under-par, three behind the clubhouse leaders.]
Current stats: 4 of 9 fairways / 8 of 12 greens / 20 total putts.
Hole No. 13
510 yards, par 5
Woods birdied. After hitting his first fairway since No. 8, went for the green in two and got a perfect play down the ridge at the back of the green. Facing a 10-foot eagle attempt, the putt hit the left side of the cup and did a hard right hook.
Moves to 3 under par, two off the pace now shared by five men as Fred Couples moved to 5-under through 16.
Current stats: 5 of 10 fairways / 10 of 13 greens / 22 total putts.]
[Updated 3:26 p.m.] Hole No. 14
440 yards, par 4
Tiger Woods bogeyed. Approach shot missed left of the green, then left an ordinary chip shot 5 feet short to force a dicey par save. It proved costly when his par save strayed just far enough right to burn the edge.
Back to 2 under par, four behind the new pace set by Fred Couples after a birdie at No. 17 moved him to 6 under.
Current stats: 6 of 11 fairways / 10 of 14 greens / 24 total putts.
[Updated 3:38] Hole No. 15
530 yards, par 5
Tiger Woods eagled. A perfect drive left him an easy 7-iron over the water fronting the green, which he got to check up just 7 feet behind the hole. Woods lifted his putter skyward as the eagle putt covered the final inches before falling in.
Now at 4 under par, two behind new clubhouse leader Fred Couples (completed a 6-under-par 66).
Current stats: 7 of 12 fairways / 11 of 15 greens / 25 total putts.
[Updated 3:52 p.m.] Hole No. 16
170 yards, par 3
Tiger Woods parred. A 9-iron tee shot went right over the flagstick, pulling back toward the water to leave him a 15-foot birdie attempt. Woods' try came tantalizingly close, dropping him to his knees as the ball slid past on the right.
Still at 4 under par, two behind leader Fred Couples (66).
Current stats: 7 of 12 fairways / 12 of 16 greens / 27 total putts.
[Update 4:05 p.m.] Hole No. 17
440 yards, par 4
Tiger Woods parred. From an optimal position in the fairway, a wedge from 144 yards didn't get enough rollout and wound up in the middle of the green. An easy two-putt took Woods to No. 18 looking to break 70 in a Masters opening round for the first time.
Holding at 4-under-par, two behind clubhouse leader Fred Couples (66).
Current stats: 8 of 13 fairways / 13 of 17 greens / 29 total putts.
[Updated 4:30 p.m.] Hole No. 18
465 yards, par 4
Tiger Woods parred. Blasting his drive nearly 350 yards, Woods was left with only a simple wedge up to the elevated green. His shot skipped behind the flag and spun back to 5 feet, but his birdie attempt hit the left edge too hard and curled out.
A 4-under-par 68 left Woods tied for seventh, two shots behind leader Fred Couples.
First-round stats: 9 of 14 fairways / 14 of 18 greens / 31 total putts.
--Jeff Shain, Orlando Sentinel
Photo: Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the first hole during the first round of the Masters golf tournament on Thursday in Augusta, Ga. Credit: Morry Gash / Associated Press