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The Open Championship

July 15, 2010 by staff 

The Open ChampionshipThe Open Championship:(ESPN) — ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – The place has been so good to Tiger Woods was especially benevolent Thursday – for him and all those who were able to take advantage.

Woods shot 5-under par 67 on the Old Course, matching his first round score of 2005 and only one more than when he won the Open Championship in 2000.

It is a good start to the Open champion three times, seeking his fifteenth major championship, but the first victory this year.

And yet, Rory McIlroy is four shots and trailed by several other names seen above yours in the standings.

“With the conditions we had to go for it,” Woods said. “We had to use it. I felt I did a good job today, and let the round of maturity. Most of the boys were under soon, although I was not, and I said, just let the round maturity, just keep holding on and keep plugging along, and could have been a pretty good lap today. ”

Despite missing several opportunities early in his round, Woods remained patient, getting his second putt for birdie to fall in the seventh and played his final 12 holes in 4 under par.

“There is no need for force,” said Woods. “Just go ahead and just take advantage of the holes, and just because I’m a low does not mean that I have to force things. … I had a lot of holes left, but the conditions were benign and only go ahead and get it done. And it happened. ”

He made only one bogey for the day, hit 14 of its 16 streets and 17-of-18 greens.

The use of a new putter for the first time in 11 years, Woods needed 32 putts all over the Old Course – a number that might be a bit misleading as it drove the par-4 12th hole and two putts for birdie and called the par-14 in two and two-putted for birdie-5.

“I’m in good shape,” said Woods, who played several groups ahead of John Daly, who bolted to the top of the leaderboard early and settled with a 66 and McIlroy, who tied a major championship by shooting 63 . “I took advantage of a golf course when I had to take advantage of it. At this moment, we are on the right side of the draw, but I can not tomorrow. I mean, time is supposed to come here at 11 [am ], but no time, so we’ll see. ”

After a nasty on Wednesday, conditions were calm throughout the morning and never as bad as predicted. After noon, there were occasional rain and wind much more, but still a day to go low.

Woods ran into trouble when his tee shot on the Road Hole, the par-4 17, was left rough. From there, he was able to move the ball toward the front of the green, but missed a 4-footer that would have saved par.

Then at the par-4 final hole, Woods drove his tee shot short of the ditch known as the Valley of Sin. His putt from off the green came up short, then missed the putt for birdie.

Woods is trying to become the first player to win three times in the main championship spot (with the exception of Augusta National Masters) since Harry Vardon won his third Open Championship at Prestwick in 1914.

Woods won the 2000 Open here by eight strokes and the 2005 Open by five shots. He also won in 2006 at Royal Liverpool in England.

This is just seventh tournament of the year and Woods has not played this tournament throughout the world, many in a season without a win since 2001.

“He’s playing golf right now intense,” said Justin Rose, who recently won twice on the PGA Tour and playing with Woods. “You see that is intense and motivated. I do not think that has changed.”

Bob Harig is the golf writer for ESPN.com.

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