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The Masters: Tiger Woods battling to make cut after frustrating first round at Augusta National

Tiger Woods is making his second start of the year and first since the Genesis Invitational in February; 15-time major champion will resume on two over when he returns on Friday - watch exclusively live from 2pm on Sky Sports Golf

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Tiger Woods registered back-to-back birdies on the back nine during the opening round at The Masters

Tiger Woods faces a battle to avoid missing the cut at The Masters for the first time as a professional after making a disappointing start to his bid for an unlikely 16th major title.

Woods, making his 25th appearance at The Masters but just his second start at a full-field event since missing the cut at The Open last July, mixed three birdies with five bogeys and admitted to being in "constant" pain during an opening-round 74.

The 47-year-old's total was his highest opening round at The Masters since 2005, the year he claimed the fourth of five victories at Augusta National, with Woods in visible discomfort throughout as he fell nine shots behind clubhouse leaders Viktor Hovland and Jon Rahm.

Tiger Woods grimaces on the fourth tee during the first round of the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on Thursday, April 6, 2023, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Image: Can Tiger Woods avoid an unwanted missed cut at The Masters?

"I felt like I drove it good, I just didn't do the job I need to do to get the ball close," Woods told reporters. "Today was the opportune time to get the round under par and I didn't do that today.

"Most of the guys are going low today. This was the day to do it. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be a little bit better, a little bit sharper and I kind of inch my way through it.

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"This is going to be an interesting finish to the tournament with the weather coming in. If I can just kind of hang in there, maybe kind of inch my way back, hopefully it will be positive towards the end."

Tough day for Woods at Augusta

Woods opened with a two-putt par at the first and failed to take advantage of the par-five next, having to lay up after finding a bunker off the tee, then hit a poor chip from just short of the green on his way to a bogey at the third.

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Tiger Woods hit a poor chip shot into the third green during his first round at Augusta

A three-putt bogey at the par-four fifth was followed by a birdie opportunity left short at the par-three next, with Woods continuing to struggle on the greens as he took three attempts from 25 feet and dropped a shot at the seventh.

Woods almost chipped on his way to a tap-in birdie at the eighth and holed from five feet at the ninth to save par and reach the turn in 38, although a poor pitch into a bunker saw him bogey the 11th.

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A moment of magic saw Tiger Woods land his second shot on the green at the 10th hole

A run of three straight pars was ended when Woods drained from 25 feet at the 15th, the first of back-to-back birdies, only for him to bogey the last after having to put his weight on his troublesome right ankle to hook out of a fairway bunker.

"I was trying to hook it [shot on 18] more than that and trying to put it in the left gallery or left bunker and give myself an angle," Woods explained. "I didn't do that. Trying not to hosel rocket over to the right either - that hosel was sitting there right next to that golf ball.

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Tiger Woods appeared to be in pain following his bunker shot on the last hole of his first round

"I didn't have very good speed early [on the greens]. I had two three-putts and consequently, I'm a couple over par. I didn't hit my irons close enough today. I didn't give myself very good looks.

"I need to do a better job of that going forward to hopefully get myself back in this tournament."

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Playing partner Hovland set the clubhouse target with a brilliant bogey-free 65, which was later matched by Rahm, while Xander Schauffele - completing Woods' threeball - started his week with a four-under 68.

Woods' group has a 1.24pm (6.24pm BST) start time scheduled for Friday's second round, where the 15-time champion will be looking move back inside the top-50 and tries to avoid a first missed cut at The Masters since his amateur appearance in 1996.

Watch The Masters throughout the week live on Sky Sports Golf! Live coverage continues on Friday from 2pm on Sky Sports Golf, with a host of extra feeds available via the red button. The Amen Corner stream is also live - for free - on the Sky Sports Golf YouTube channel and Sky Sports website!

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