Woods off to solid start with 3-under 69

Tiger Woods
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Despite a bogey-bogey start, Tiger Woods bounced back to shoot a 3-under 69 in the first round of the Open Championship on Thursday.
By T.J. Auclair, Senior Interactive Producer
PGA.com
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Series: Golf Buzz

All eyes were on Tiger Woods at Royal Liverpool as the Open Championship teed off on Thursday.

Pain-free in his return from back surgery, Woods -- playing in his first major championship of the season and just his third competitive round since March -- got off to a bumpy, bogey-bogey start at the course he overpowered in 2006 when he won the Open for a third time.

It didn't look good early on for the man trying to snag major victory No. 15 and his first since the 2008 U.S. Open.

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But, he quickly settled in and finished with a stellar 3-under 69 that left him two shots behind early clubhouse leader Matteo Manassero.

Woods birdied the fifth hole and rattled off four pars for an outward-nine of 1-over 36. Then he really got hot on Royal Liverpool's more scoring-friendly second nine.

After a par on the par-5 10th hole, Woods rattled off three consecutive birdies, bogeyed No. 14 and then bounced back with birdies on Nos. 15 and 16 -- he nearly chipped in for eagle on the par-5 16th.

Woods closed out the round with par on the par-5 18th hole that was set up by a spectacular shot from a greenside bunker.

All in all, a solid start for Woods. 

T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.