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Tiger fails to hunt any birdies

May 11, 2007 12:11 IST
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Tiger Woods failed to register a single birdie on his card for the first time in four years on the PGA Tour at the Players Championship on Thursday.

The world number one, struggling on the greens in difficult conditions, opened with a three-over-par 75 to match his highest score at the Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass.

Fresh from victory in last week's Wachovia Championship, Woods three-putted for bogey three times in his last six holes to finish eight strokes behind leaders Phil Mickelson and Rory Sabbatini.

"I hit the ball pretty good today but had three three-putts and consequently was three over par," the 31-year-old American told reporters after parring the first 12 holes in gusting winds.

"The greens are a little bit tricky to read, different grain out there than we're used to, and I had a tougher time than the guys at the top of the leaderboard."

Woods, who has won three times in six PGA Tour starts this season, reeled off nine consecutive pars after teeing off at the par-four 10th.

Forced to back off shots several times as the winds gusted up to 65 kph, he missed birdie opportunities from around 11 feet at the second and third.

DROPPED SHOT

Woods, whose only success at Sawgrass came in 2001, dropped his first shot of the round after missing the fairway to the left on the par-four fourth and failing to sink a five-foot

par putt.

Further bogeys followed at the sixth and eighth, where he missed from less than four feet to save par.

He parred the 583-yard ninth to card his seventh 75 in the event widely regarded as the unofficial fifth major.

It was his first birdie-free round on the PGA Tour since he opened with a 70 in the 2003 U.S. Open at Olympia Fields, although that card did include an eagle.

Before that, Woods failed to produce a single birdie in his first-round 76 at the 2003 Masters.

Asked what he needed to do to get back into the Players Championship, Woods replied: "Just keep doing what I did today, stay patient and hit the ball as consistently as I did all day.

"I've just got to make a few more putts.

"I enjoy the test here," added the 12-times major champion who needed 31 putts in the opening round. "You have to place the golf ball correctly. If you don't, there's going to be a consequence for it."

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