With a clear sky and little wind during morning play at the Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, South Carolina, yesterday, Woods shot a 3-under-par 69. The four-time PGA Championship winner said he was happy with a round that contained six birdies and three bogeys.
“Anything in the 60s is going to be a good start in a major championship,” Woods told reporters. “I’m right there.”
Pettersson, who lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, is 6 under after finishing with six birdies and no bogeys. He’s one shot ahead of a group of four players that includes 2011 U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland.
Woods, 36, began the tournament on the par-4 10th hole and opened with two pars. That left him four shots off the lead as others took advantage of the favorable scoring conditions and rolled in birdie putts around the oceanside course.
“You look up on the board and some guy’s 4-under through six; a bunch of guys are 3-under through five,” Woods said. “But the wind kicked up a little bit and it changed things quite a bit.”
Joost Luiten of the Netherlands led the tournament at 8- under par through 14 holes before finishing with four consecutive bogeys as increasing winds off of the Atlantic Ocean began to send shots off line.
“If it had stayed pretty benign, I’m sure you probably would have had to shoot 5-under par to be in the top 10,” Woods said.
Woods, an American seeking his first major title since the 2008 U.S. Open, finished his opening nine holes with a 30-foot birdie putt to reach 1 under. He followed with consecutive birdies on the first and second holes. Before finishing his round with a par, Woods added a bogey on the fourth and a birdie on the eighth.
Defending champion Keegan Bradley, playing in Woods’s group along with 2010 PGA Championship winner Martin Kaymer, shot 4- under 68 with five birdies, an eagle and three bogeys. Bradley, who played college golf at St. John’s University in New York, began his day with a birdie and an eagle. He then made three bogeys over a six-hole stretch before adding three birdies over the final nine holes.
The winner of 14 major titles, Woods entered the tournament a 7-1 favorite to win, according to Las Vegas Hotel’s sports book. Luke Donald, the world’s No. 1-ranked golfer, was second at 15-1 odds, followed by his English countryman Lee Westwood at 20-1.
Phil Mickelson, the 2005 PGA Championship winner who was among those to play the first round in the afternoon, and Masters Tournament winner Bubba Watson are in a 22-way tie for 66th place at 1-over par.
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