Woods happy with 'positive start' to Masters challenge

Tiger Woods reflected on a “positive start” to his pursuit for a fifth Masters title, after carding a two-under 70 at Augusta on Thursday.

The long game of Woods looked to be in good shape during his first round and he briefly shared the lead at three under after recording back-to-back birdies on the 13th and 14th holes.

A bogey on 17 saw the 14-time major champion slip a shot off the early pace set by playing partner Jon Rahm, 2013 champion Adam Scott and Justin Harding.

Woods could have been forgiven for bemoaning a display on the greens that was less than clinical, as a number of putts from inside 10 feet missed their target.

Yet he appeared largely satisfied with his day’s work as he told Sky Sports: “Overall it was a good, solid day.

He continued: “I grinded my way around the golf course, tried to take care of the par fives when I could, and other than that I just tried to stay mistake-free. It’s hard to do out here; it’s really hard to avoid bogeys. I made two today.

“I’m only one back as of right now. It’s a good, positive start with 54 [holes] to go.”

If Woods was looking for a good omen, he could take encouragement from the fact he opened with rounds of 70 en route to three of his four Masters wins to date.

The exception came when he last triumphed at Augusta in 2005, having started with a two-over 74.

Despite his vast experience of the course, Woods admitted to being surprised by some of the pin positions on Thursday and added: “They like to do things slightly different every now and then. They did a pretty good job setting it up.”