Tiger Woods Starts Strong, Shoots 2 Under at 2019 Players Championship Round 1

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2019

Tiger Woods holds up his golf ball after putting out on the third hole during the first round of The Players Championship golf tournament Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

Tiger Woods shot a 70 in his first round of the 2019 Players Championship to sit two strokes under par for the tournament.

He totaled six birdies in the round, including five in the back nine, but remains five strokes behind current leaders Tommy Fleetwood and Keegan Bradley at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Verde Beach, Fla.

Woods has won this event twice, most recently in 2013, although he will need a stronger effort over the rest of the tournament to get his third.

The 43-year-old had a slow start to the day, fighting hard for pars on his front nine.

He missed a couple of fairways and needed some great shots to make up for his bad ones:

His best showing on the front nine came on the seventh hole when he knocked in a 15-footer for birdie:

He finished the front nine at even par, with only one bogey and one birdie.

The second half of the round went much differently as only one of his holes ended with a par. 

"Usually if I have one par it's usually shooting 30 or 29, not what I did today," Woods said after the round, per Jason Sobel of Action Network.

Even with a couple of mistakes, Woods looked good on his birdies and especially impressed with his putter:

He then picked up his play off the tee to earn a birdie on the par-five No. 16 as well as the famed No. 17 par three.

Still, his inconsistency remained a problem as he bogeyed the final hole, his fourth of the round.

With a 64.29 percent driving accuracy and just 12-of-18 greens in regulation, there was a lot of room for improvement. On the plus side, he made up for it with great shots throughout the day and gained 1.978 strokes with his putting, per PGATour.com.

This could be enough to keep up with the contenders if he can limit his mistakes over the next few days.

Woods has played well in limited action so far this year, finishing in the top 20 in each of his three official events. He earned a top-10 finish in his last event, the World Golf Championship Mexico in February.

He will need to show more of this in Round 2 to keep up with the leaders, teeing off from No. 10 at 8:32 a.m. ET.

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