Golf

Tiger Woods overcomes nervy start to fire opening 69 at Torrey Pines

Tiger Woods admitted he had to keep his adrenaline in check as he reflected on a solid first-round 69 at the Farmers Insurance Open.

The prospect of returning to competition almost got the better of the 44-year-old on the first tee but, after he bogeyed his second hole, he calmed himself with a birdie at the 13th – his fourth – and a three-birdie second nine hauled him to within three of the lead by the end of the first day.

Woods, an eight-time winner at Torrey Pines including the 2008 US Open, knows all too well the importance of making a score at the easier North Course, and he was happy with how he fought back from his early blemish in near-perfect conditions on the California coast.

The reigning Masters champion birdied three of the four par-fives, including one at his final hole to leave him in good shape ahead of his second round over the tougher South Course on Friday afternoon, live on Sky Sports Golf from 5pm.

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“I felt like it was a positive start, and the golf course was definitely gettable today, for sure,” said Woods, who will surpass Sam Snead as the all-time leading winner on the PGA Tour with his next victory. “I felt I did a good job out there, and I have a lot of positives to take to the South Course tomorrow.

“I do know the golf course quite well, but it’s going to be playing a little more difficult than the North. Overall I’m pleased to get something in the red today.

“I was definitely feeling the adrenaline on the first tee. I’ve missed the competition and I was trying to keep everything as calm as a possibly could.

“I didn’t do a very good job of that starting out, made a quick bogey early but felt like I fought back.”

Woods was also happy to concede defeat to playing-partner and 2017 champion Jon Rahm in the driving distance stakes, but he was delighted with his accuracy off the tees.

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