Published: Fri, March 16, 2018
Sports | By Phillip Butler

Tiger Woods chases strong first round at Arnold Palmer Invitational

Tiger Woods chases strong first round at Arnold Palmer Invitational

Despite a double-bogey on the 12th hole, Woods posted a 4-under 68 in the opening round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational on the strength of a half-dozen birdies.

The 42-year-old finished second to England's Paul Casey in the Valspar Championship on Sunday and carried on where he left off in Orlando with an opening 68 to lie four shots behind clubhouse leader Henrik Stenson. In fact, it's probably best to just skip the whole dang day and don't even put up with the pretense of looking productive. "Just keep making incremental improvements and I think I've done that".

"My recovery, these are all things that are new. So I'm still learning, I'm getting a lot better at it ".

Stenson, who missed the cut past year at Bay Hill but has four top-8 finishes in his last five starts at the API, ranked second in the field in strokes gained: putting (3.733) and sixth in strokes gained: tee-to-green (1.619) while making nine birdies, including seven in an eight-hole stretch starting at No. 9. He recall being greeted at the 18th green by tournament namesake legend Palmer, who died in 2016. "But when I do play well here, I play well", said McDowell, who featured an eagle - on the par-five 16th, his seventh hole of his round - two birdies and a bogey. "But I have those memories".

Woods has not won a PGA tournament since 2013 having suffered an array of personal issues.

That performance saw some bookmakers install the 14-time major victor as a joint-favourite for the upcoming Masters alongside world number one Dustin Johnson, but Woods was keen to avoid getting carried away with the hype.

This week, he also knows the course but will need to become reacqauinted with some details. I'm scoring now, so I'm going out there and hitting shots and I'm scoring. I still got to do the work.

"My dad always told me, 'Just putt to the picture, '" he later said.

The former world number one had seen his incredible career descend into a near farce as personal issues, as well as injury after injury (after injury), forced Woods into taking a step back from the game he so loves.

"You guys are asking different questions than you did when I first came back, and that wasn't that long ago; that's two months ago", he recalled. There's no other tournament like it.

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