Tiger Woods, making an incredible comeback 14 months after suffering severe leg injuries in a car crash, fired a one-under par 71 on Thursday for a solid start at the Masters.
The 15-time major champion, seeking his record-tying sixth green jacket, made three birdies and two bogeys at Augusta National to stand three strokes behind early clubhouse leader Cameron Smith of Australia.
Woods sank a 29-foot birdie putt at the par-3 16th and closed with a clutch 10-foot birdie putt at the par-4 18th.
The 46-year-old superstar, who has slid to 973rd in the world rankings, walked slower and apart from his playing partners much of the round and used a club as a walking stick on hills at times.
Woods was hospitalized for weeks and unable to walk for months after an auto accident in February 21 and says he still plays through pain but he made an astonishing recovery to return at the Masters, where he won his first major title 25 years ago and made his most recent prior start 17 months ago.
With a victory, Woods would become the eldest Masters champion, three weeks older than Jack Nicklaus in 1986, and the third-oldest major winner after Phil Mickelson (50) and Julius Boros (48).