Tiger Woods is well within reach of the lead after Thursday's first-round action at the 2013 Masters Tournament.
The four-time Masters champion fired a two-under 70 to place himself just four strokes off the lead occupied by Marc Leishman and Sergio Garcia.
A widely documented statistic that Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman posted shows the significance of Woods' score:
Kelly Tilghman @KellyTilghmanGC
Tiger Woods opens in -2, 70. In 3 of his 4 #Masters wins he opened with a round of 70.4/11/2013, 7:58:08 PM
If history is any indication, the second round should be even more successful for the 37-year-old living legend.
Woods has not won a green jacket since 2005 but seems perfectly on track to get it done this time around. When he romped to a 12-shot victory for his first major triumph in 1997, a then 21-year-old Woods fired a six-under 66 in Round 2.
That feat was matched when Woods won in 2001, and when he successfully defended his title the following year, he shot a 69.
The lone blemish on Woods' scorecard on Thursday was a three-putt bogey on No. 14, but he otherwise hit the ball in all the right spots and showcased his experience in his 19th Masters appearance. Although his day could have been better, Woods certainly can't be too disappointed with how he ultimately finished.
Woods has never putted better in his entire career, and by maintaining that form more closely than he did over the first 18 holes in today's round, he should find himself even nearer to the top of the leaderboard.
Anything outside of the 60s would be a big surprise considering how well Woods has been playing. He entered Augusta having won three PGA Tour events in 2013, including his last two starts.
A big key moving forward will be how well Woods capitalizes on the par-fives. He has played them in two under thus far, which is a positive indication in light of this fact tweeted by Dan Patrick Show producer Paul Pabst:
Paul Pabst @PaulPabst
Tiger at the Masters as a pro...career on par 3's +24...par 4's +12...par 5's -1264/10/2013, 2:27:43 PM
Woods plays the longer holes mind-blowingly well, and that will have to continue with big hitters such as Garcia, Dustin Johnson (-5) and Rickie Fowler (-4) sure to keep taking advantage of those opportunities.
The only past Masters winners who stand between Woods and the lead are Trevor Immelman, Fred Couples and Zach Johnson.
Both Immelman and Couples have battled through injury issues and aren't guaranteed to hold up moving forward. Johnson's victory came in 2007, where his plus-one total matched the highest aggregate score in the tournament's storied history.
Woods should be smelling blood and sporting the eye of the tiger on Friday, and his second round should fall somewhere between the prior success he's had at this juncture in the past.
Prediction: Seven birdies, three bogeys and a round of four-under 68.
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