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Tiger Woods makes 22nd straight cut at Masters Tournament

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Streak is just one shy of record held by Fred Couples and Gary Player

    Written by Cameron Morfit @CMorfitPGATOUR

    AUGUSTA, Ga. – Tiger Woods got off to a bad start but averted disaster.

    After making four bogeys in his first five holes Friday, the five-time Masters champion steadied himself to sign for a 74 and is nine off the lead, tied for 19th place going into the weekend.

    “Well, it was windy,” Woods said. “It was swirling. Balls were oscillating on the greens. We got a couple of bad gusts. I hit a couple of bad shots. I hit a decent shot at 4 that ended up down in a divot, and it was just like – there were so many things that were not going my way.

    “It was partly the conditions,” he added, “and partly me.”

    Woods, 46, is making his first official PGA TOUR start in a year and a half, since his career was slowed by a fifth back surgery and nearly ended by a single-car accident in Los Angeles. He said surgeons contemplated amputating his right leg, which is a constant source of pain.

    Although he has walked with a limp at Augusta National, he’s still here. He easily made the cut for the 22nd straight time, which is one shy of the record held by Fred Couples and Gary Player.

    “It was a good fight,” Woods said. “I got back in the ball game.”

    And with a fused back and a weakened right leg, no less.

    After stumbling out of the gate, he told his caddie, Joe LaCava, that the goal was to get back to even par for the round. Woods had a chance after hitting a series of more characteristic shots, none better than his approach to kick-in range at the par-4 10th hole. But he failed to get up and down at the 15th hole and missed another birdie attempt from roughly 12 feet at the 16th.

    Still, the way he looked at it, he was just four shots out of second place. He also noted his excitement for the forecast Saturday – cold, windy – which could shake up the leaderboard.

    “I haven't played a lot of tournaments of late,” Woods said, “so it's been a little bit rusty, but I'm starting to come around. I felt good about how I fought back today and got myself – I could have easily kicked myself out of the tournament today, but I kept myself in it.”

    Joaquin Niemann (74, 1 under total), who played with Woods for the first two days, was impressed.

    “I think today, he hit it way better than yesterday,” Niemann said. “He looked great – amazing tee shots, some amazing iron shots. On 10 today, he was amazing. So, yeah, he's still got it.”