Tiger Woods Delivers Strong 1st Round at 2018 Valspar Championship

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 8, 2018

PALM HARBOR, FL - MARCH 08:  Tiger Woods plays his shot from the fourth tee during the first round of the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort Copperhead Course on March 8, 2018 in Palm Harbor, Florida.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Tiger Woods kept himself within striking distance of the leaders during the first round of the Valspar Championship Thursday in Palm Harbor, Florida, shooting a 1-under 70 that left him just three strokes behind Corey Conners atop the leaderboard.

Woods was a bit inconsistent during his opening round, posting five birdies and four bogeys. Still, the performance was good enough to leave him tied for eighth. 

The Golf Channel's Tiger Tracker account shared his stats on the day:

"I'm pleased with every aspect of my game," he said, per GC Tiger Tracker, though he added that Thursday's round was the most difficult of his season due to the windy conditions on the course.

Woods started his day well, with a birdie on No. 1: 

A bogey on No. 4 dropped him back to even, but he then birdied No. 8 to return to 1-under: 

A bogey on No. 9 saw him go even after nine, however.

Woods started his back nine with two straight birdies and was looking good:

He promptly bogeyed his next two holes, though, dropping back to even before a birdie on No. 17 brought him back to 1-under.

There were points during his round where Woods was downright magical, including his approaches on Nos. 7 and 17: 

At other points, well, the struggle was real: 

Overall, however, it was an excellent round for Woods considering the tough conditions. And he seemed to relish in the challenge, per Jason Sobel of ESPN.com: 

One thing has become clear in Woods' latest comeback—he's become a must-watch golfer once again for the right reasons. He's displaying the power that once highlighted his game when he was the most dominant player on the planet and he's again battling through rough conditions or his own spotty play to post solid rounds. 

He's far removed from being favored at every tournament he enters, but Woods is looking like a player who could make some noise at the Masters next month. Certainly, he's very much in the running this weekend at Palm Harbor.

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