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Tiger Woods Inconsistent, Shoots 2-Under 70 in 2019 Memorial Tournament Round 1

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 30, 2019

DUBLIN, OHIO - MAY 30: Tiger Woods hits his tee shot on the 11th hole during the first round of The Memorial Tournament Presented by Nationwide at Muirfield Village Golf Club on May 30, 2019 in Dublin, Ohio. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Tiger Woods found himself stuck in neutral for most of Thursday's opening round of the 2019 Memorial Tournament en route to a two-under 70 at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.

Woods, who's won the event a record five times, tallied four birdies and two bogeys in his first competitive round since he missed the cut at the PGA Championship, the season's second major, earlier this month.

A victory this week would give the 15-time major champion 82 wins for his PGA Tour career, which would match Sam Snead for the most in history.

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

🎯 Back-to-back birdies. @TigerWoods is 2-under heading to his last hole. #LiveUnderPar https://t.co/XQMV27lzXi

Woods' attempt to win the PGA Championship after he captured The Masters last month was derailed by an illness. His preparation was limited, including the forced cancellation of his Wednesday practice round, and he never seemed to find a rhythm at Bethpage Black.

"I feel a lot better," he told reporters Wednesday. "I just need to play a little bit more now. And hopefully it will be four solid days this week heading into the U.S. Open."

His driving improved Thursday compared to the PGA Championship, where he dealt with a two-way miss off the tee that hadn't been seen since his frequent struggles in 2014 and 2015. He found 78.6 percent of the fairways with an average distance just under 300 yards.

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Opening par for @TigerWoods in the chase for 82. He's found the fairway on the par-5 11th. #QuickHits https://t.co/4yHzlOqvg5

Tiger's notoriously strong iron game let him down in the first round, though. He hit just 55.6 percent of the greens in regulation and left himself a lot of mid- and long-range birdie putts even when he did find the dance floor.

Golf Channel @GolfChannel

Walking in birdie putts on a Thursday morning. Tiger will take it. https://t.co/pmX1vL6qOW

All told, it was a far more promising performance from Woods than he put together two weeks ago and suggests his poor outing in the PGA Championship wasn't a sign of things to come.

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

Back in the red. @TigerWoods moves to 1-under after a birdie at the par-5 seventh. #LiveUnderPar https://t.co/dJ3eatXsJu

He'll need a better score Friday to start getting himself in position to win the Memorial, which is hosted by 18-time major winner Jack Nicklaus. The Golden Bear said Tuesday he expects his record to fall if the 43-year-old fan favorite can stay healthy after his successful comeback from back problems.

"Who knows how long his body is going to stay together? When you've had as many operations as he's had, he may be solid enough that it's all right," Nicklaus told reporters. "And if he is I think he probably will break my record."

Tiger Tracker @GCTigerTracker

Tiger on his opening round at Memorial: "It was one of those days it could have easily flipped. It's so soft out there and definitely gettable."

For now, Woods is focused on chasing a sixth Memorial title. He's scheduled to tee off his second round at 1:16 p.m. ET on Friday alongside Justin Rose and Bryson DeChambeau.

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