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July 18 2013

2:50 PM

Woods recovers to shoot 69

Woods made five birdies and three bogeys in the opening round at Muirfield. (Lewis/Getty Images)

GULLANE, Scotland -- Tiger Woods recovered from a shaky start Thursday, shooting a 2-under 69 that leaves him near the top of the leaderboard at The Open Championship.

After snap-hooking his opening tee shot into deep rough and taking a drop for an unplayable lie, Woods managed to save bogey before adding five birdies and just one more bogey the rest of the day.

"I really played well, other than the tee shot on 1," he said. "It was a round I had to grind it out."

Woods hit his tee shot so far left on the first hole, he thought it might be out of bounds. He hit a provisional but was able to find his first tee shot.

He erased the bogey three holes later, hitting an 8-iron to about 5 feet on the par-3 fourth.

After a bogey on No. 6, Woods turned things around on the back nine with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before another on 13.

Woods bogeyed the next but again bounced back, reaching the par-5 17th in two with a pair of 4-irons. He missed the eagle putt but tapped in for an easy birdie.

While the back nine played more than two strokes over par, Woods played it in 3 under.

"It's so fiery out there," Woods said. "The golf course just kept drying out. And it was so hard to get the ball close, even lag putt and try to get the ball the right speed. It was very difficult."

As for Woods' elbow, it was unaffected. It helped he kept his ball out of the rough most of the day.

"Elbow held up great," he said. "I knew the ground was going to be hard over here. There's potential for having some long rough. And that little time off helped."

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