Woods one under after scrambling Masters start

Thu Apr 5, 2012 4:55pm GMT

By Mark Lamport-Stokes

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Tiger Woods made a scrambling start to the 76th Masters on Thursday with an unlikely par at the opening hole after hooking his drive well left into pine trees followed by a birdie at the third.

With his ball ending up on pine straw, the former world number one and tournament favourite punched out a low second shot to 10 yards short of the green, chipped up to 10 feet then curled the putt into the left edge of the cup.

Woods' errant tee shot at the first had left the packed gallery groaning in stunned amazement but his par save sparked loud cheers from the fans crammed around the green.

Bidding for a fifth green jacket at Augusta National, Woods then birdied the par-four third to trail early leader Henrik Stenson of Swede by two shots.

Stenson eagled the par-five second and then birdied the par-four fifth to get to three under in the season's opening major.

Germany's 2010 PGA Championship winner Martin Kaymer was a further stroke back after covering the front nine in two-under 34.

Triple major winner Padraig Harrington of Ireland and 2009 British Open champion Stewart Cink were among a large group knotted at one under.

Birdies and eagles were plentiful for the early starters on a sun-splashed morning at Augusta National where the severely contoured layout had been softened by heavy rain on the eve of the tournament.   Continued...

Tiger Woods of the U.S. hits his tee shot on the fourth hole during first round play in the 2012 Masters Golf Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, April 5, 2012. REUTERS/Mark Blinch
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