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May 9 2013

6:55 PM

Woods has first sub-70 first round

By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Tiger Woods has just one career victory in THE PLAYERS Championship.

He nearly had his first bogey-free round, too.

Woods was near flawless Thursday at TPC Sawgrass, where he made six birdies on his way to a 67, which came within a stroke of matching his career low here.

"I felt like I hit the ball good enough, but more importantly, I missed the ball in all the correct spots," said Woods, who also broke 70 in the first round of THE PLAYERS for the first time in his career. "I left myself some easy up‑and‑downs, and I was able to convert those up‑and‑downs."

Through his first 12 holes, Woods had nine one-putts.

He was also abloe to make birdies, at one point pouring in four straight in the middle of his round, and finished the day 18-for-19 on putts inside 10 feet.

Overall, Woods hit 10 of 14 fairways and 12 greens in regulation and finished with 24 putts.

The only hiccup for Woods came on the 18th.

Woods hit 8-iron from 200 yards on the 469-yard finishing hole, but his ball trundled off the back of the green, leaving him a difficult up-and-down.

Facing a delicate chip shot up the slope to the short side of the hole, Woods left his shot in the fringe before taking two more to get down.

"I was surprised how far the ball was going," Woods said. "The ball was just traveling out there."

Still, Woods is in good position. He is in a tie for fourth four shots off the lead of Roberto Castro, who had a course record-tying 63.

Though it's been a dozen years since Woods has won here, and he hasn't finished in the top 10 during that period, he arrived this week with three wins this season. He has also finished outside the top just once in his five stroke-play starts on the PGA TOUR.

Friday, Woods hopes he can take advantage of an early tee time the way Castro did in the opening round.

"This afternoon, the short ones were not easy," he said. "There were a lot of spike marks, lot of bumps. The greens will certainly be smoother."

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