Valspar Championship: Tiger Woods breaks par on debut in event

Golf
Tiger Woods plays out of the trees
Tiger Woods plays out of the trees

Tiger Woods produced some moments of magic as he battled his way to a one-under 70 in the opening round of the Valspar Championship.

Day one leaders

-4 Corey Conners

-3 Nick Watney, Kelly Kraft, Meen Whee Kim

Day one report

Tiger Woods produced some moments of magic as he battled his way to a one-under 70 in the opening round of the Valspar Championship.

Woods, playing in the event for the first time in his career, made five birdies and four bogeys as he kept in touch with leader Corey Conners on four-under.

Having shown positive signs in the Honda Classic last time, there was yet more to like about the game of the 14-time major champion as he broke par without exactly shining with the putter.

Woods started off with a deft pitch to within a foot at the first hole, where he made birdie, and was favourite after birdies at holes 10 and 11 saw him reach two-under.

Those shots were quickly returned as he missed the green at both 12 and 13, but Woods then produced a stunning recovery from trees at the 16th to salvage par before a tee shot to just 19 inches at the par-three 17th saw him move back to one-under.

A two-putt par at the demanding 18th meant Woods had conquered the course's most demanding stretch - dubbed the 'Snake Pit' - in one-under, the score on which he ended an entertaining first round.

"It was really brutal out there," said Woods, referring to the Florida winds which swept across the course.

"I'm still working on it, I'm getting a little bit better, piece by piece. This was a very good test.

"I'm revved up. I love competing, I love mixing up with these guys. Today was a tough day for everyone."

Conners leads the way despite a bogey at his final hole, while Ben Coley's 150/1 tip Nick Watney is among a three-way tie for second, one shot back, after he carded the best round of the afternoon.

Scotland's Russell Knox was a further shot back after carding 69, while there were signs of encouragement for Luke Donald in a bogey-free 70 which was matched by compatriots Paul Casey and Justin Rose.

Rory McIlroy was three-over through five and ended on that score in a scrappy round of 74, two shots better than Jordan Spieth whose opening 76 was his worst first-round score since this event last year.

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