Tiger Woods Near the Top of Leaderboard After Strong 1st Round at 2019 Masters

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 11, 2019

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 11: Tiger Woods of the United States plays his shot from the second tee during the first round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Tiger Woods is in contention for his fifth green jacket. 

The star golfer was excellent on Thursday in the opening round of the Masters at Augusta National, shooting a two-under 70 to go into the clubhouse in a tie for sixth place, just one stroke behind five players at three-under. It was an excellent start for Woods, as he seeks to win his first major since 2008 and his first Masters since 2005.

Tiger Tracker @GCTigerTracker

That was fun. Sure, he missed a few shorties that he should’ve made but everyone here is going to do that. Swing looked great, free, fluid….good stuff. Love it. #TheMasters

Tiger Tracker @GCTigerTracker

Tiger hit 9/14 fairways, 11/18 greens and had 27 putts.

Woods started his day in style, with three pars and a birdie on No. 2. But a bogey on No. 5 and three straight pars left Woods even through eight.

He heated up from there, however, with birdies on Nos. 9, 13 and 14.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Tiger is your #themasters co-leader after this ridiculous shot set up a birdie (via @CBSSports) https://t.co/XnYWQxWwJA

Masters Tournament @TheMasters

.@TigerWoods escapes from the trees on No. 14 and converts his 25-foot birdie putt to claim a share of the lead. https://t.co/ub6VGCYxNI

His birdie on No. 14 tied him for the lead, something that hasn't happened at the Masters in quite some time:

Justin Ray @JustinRayGolf

5,115 days since Tiger Woods led or co-led any round of #TheMasters (final round in 2005, his last win)

It looked like Woods might go into the clubhouse as the leader, given his excellent run of play up to that point. But he missed a nine-foot par putt on No. 17, bogeying the hole, before hitting his tee shot on the 18th into the bunker. Woods recovered to par that hole, leaving him at two under for the day.

Even though Woods lost some of his momentum late, it was still a very promising round for the veteran golfer, especially when you consider how he's performed in the opening round during his Augusta triumphs:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Tiger Woods is off to a good start after a 2-under 70 on Thursday. He couldn't secure his first 18-hole lead at Augusta, but he's never finished outside the Top 10 when he shoots under par in the first round. https://t.co/iyVOd50JLe

Doug Ferguson @dougferguson405

Tiger's opening rounds the 4 times he won the Masters: 70, 70, 70, 74. Has only broken 70 once, and that was in 2010 when he had not played a tournament in 5 months. Go figure.

Mike Greenberg @Espngreeny

Tiger shoots 70 and figures to be right in the thick of it when day one concludes. Had chances to score better. But considering his round one history, it’s a good start. #TheMasters

Woods should be pleased with his round. While he undoubtedly left a few strokes on the course, the rest of the field did, too. It's the Masters, after all—nothing comes easy.

Woods is in the running. That's all he can really ask for at this point. With three rounds of golf left, a lot can happen, and Woods can't afford to slip. But Thursday was a fantastic start for a player who hasn't conquered a major in over a decade. 

Now he just has to do it three more times.