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Augusta Masters: Woods in Striking Distance, Im Leads First Found

Posted by: Hilbert Mayer
Augusta Masters Woods in Striking Distance Im Leads First Found

Tiger Woods’ quest for a record-tying sixth Augusta Masters title kicked off on a bright note on Thursday. He opened with a one-under-par 71 for joint 10th in the first major golf tournament of the year. The 46-year-old superstar was four strokes off surprise leader Im Sung-jae of South Korea and his round was his first in 17 months. Woods summoned his stamina. His golfing wisdom to negotiate the hilly, 7,510-yard Augusta National course on his surgically-repaired right leg. It could be recalled that the American figured in a car crash in February 2021. It left him with injuries so severe he feared he might lose his right leg. After the round, Woods admitted that he had difficulty walking the course. But he noted that he is happier being in red figures (under-par) in the first 18 holes.

Good Start Amid Tough Conditions

His score for the round does not show how he labored all day. He only hit eight of 14 fairways in regulation and missed half of 18 greens. Woods knows that to figure in contention in the next three rounds, he has to figure a way to improve these numbers. The American’s round may be good enough to raise PGA golf odds further because Woods remains the top draw in the sport despite the emergence of up-and-coming talents who are out to rule the fairways in the next few years.

Surprise Leader

Meanwhile, South Korean Im tamed the course in the first round. He opened it with three straight birdies en route to a five-under-par 67. Despite dropping shots in the 10th and 11th holes, he bounced back with an eagle on the 13th hole and a birdie on the 15th to take a one-stroke lead past Cameron Smith of Australia. Smith could have topped the leaderboard if not for two double bogeys from the first and 18th holes. He strung up eight birdies between the second and 17th holes to move into the clubhouse. In joint third at 3-under were England’s Danny Willett, the 2016 Augusta Masters champion, Chile’s Joaquin Niemann, world number one Scottie Scheffler and two-time major winner Dustin Johnson. A shot back are Americans Jason Kokrak and Patrick Cantlay and Corey Conners of Canada.

Aside from Tiger Woods, sharing 10th at 1-under are Harry Higgs, Kevin Na, Daniel Berger, Tony Finau, Webb Simpson, Harold Varner III, Will Zalatoris and England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick. Defending champion Hideki Matsuyama of Japan was tied for 19th at even-par along with former Masters champions Charl Schwartzel and Sergio Garcia. Two-time Augusta Masters winner Bubba Watson, Rory McIlroy and Collin Morikawa were six shots off the pace at 1-over. The tournament concludes on Sunday, April 11.

Conclusion

Tiger woods’ quest for a record-tying sixth Masters title and 16th major kicked off in a promising way. Although he is four shots off the pace, he is still in prime position to contend for the weekend. The Augusta Masters tournament is known for its unpredictability. A miscalculation in the famed Augusta course could spell disaster. And a consistent plan of attack and excellent shotmaking over the four-day event could put a golfer in contention. The first round is still too early to decide on the favorites to win the crown but it could be a guide for online golf betting fanatics who like to have fun and earn money at the same time.