National Sports

Tiger starts with 68 at PGA Northern Trust playoff opener

Reigning Masters champion Tiger woods fired a three-under par 68 in Thursday's opening round of the US PGA Northern Trust, the first event of the tour's season-ending FedEx Cup playoffs - Maddie Meyer / ©AFP
Reigning Masters champion Tiger woods fired a three-under par 68 in Thursday's opening round of the US PGA Northern Trust, the first event of the tour's season-ending FedEx Cup playoffs - Maddie Meyer / ©AFP

(AFP)

Reigning Masters champion Tiger Woods fired a three-under par 68 in Thursday’s opening round of the Northern Trust, the first event of the US PGA FedEx Cup playoffs.

After a closing bogey, Woods reached the clubhouse at TPC Boston four shots behind early leader Harris English, who had seven birdies and an eagle in his opening 64.

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Woods, 44, seeks an 83rd career US PGA title to break the all-time record he shares with Sam Snead.

The tournament is the first of three season-ending PGA playoff events, with the top 70 in season points after this week advancing to next week’s BMW Championship and the 30 points leader after that moving into the Tour Championhip next month at East Lake in Atlanta.

At 49th in points, Woods is safely into the BMW field and the 15-time major winner says he will play if needed in order to reach the title showdown.

Woods, who began on the back nine, fired his tee shot at the par-4 13th beyond a cart path to the right, found the rough with his next two shots and was inches off on a 30-foot par chip to settle for bogey.

Woods answered with a birdie at the par-5 18th, reaching the green in two and tapping in from three feet.

At the par-3 third, Woods holed a 16-foot birdie putt, then found a greenside bunker off the tee at the par-4 fourth, chipped out to four feet and rolled in his birdie putt.

Woods sank a six-foot birdie putt at the par-5 seventh, then sank a birdie putt from just inside seven feet at the par-3 eighth to reach 4-under.

But Woods stumbled home from there, finding the right rough and a native area at the par-4 ninth before chipping to 16 feet and two-putting for a closing bogey.

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