Published: Sat, March 10, 2018
Sports | By Brandy Patterson

Tiger Woods' 2018 Masters odds plummet again after 68 at Valspar Championship

Tiger Woods' 2018 Masters odds plummet again after 68 at Valspar Championship

Tiger Woods came within a couple of inches of making a spectacular hole-in-one on the daunting 17th at the Valspar Championship in Florida. And despite a bogey at the par-4 ninth after he failed to get up and down out of a bunker, Woods started his back nine with birdies at Nos.

His short game was particularly impressive, nearly holing a flop shot from the rough at the par-five first, which led to a tap-in birdie and set a positive tone for the round.

Another gain at the fifth, his 14th, left Woods as outright leader but a poor approach shot at the last, which hit a spectator's handbag, was followed with a clunked chip that fortuitously slowed after hitting the pin.

Consider that Woods was playing alongside major champions Jordan Spieth and Henrik Stenson and comfortably outscored them both.

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Woods is playing his fourth PGA Tour event since returning from fusion surgery on his lower back, his fourth surgery since the spring of 2014. "We as a group got fooled a lot today".

Now we're seeing more of that same form, sharpened a bit, and Tiger is in the damn lead of the Valspar Championship.

Conners, 26, made a strong start with four birdies on his first eight holes, with only a bogey at the last costing him a bigger lead. Woods built from there, using handsome approach shots on the 12th and 13th holes to set up easy birdie putts before settling into consistency with six straight pars.

An upbeat Woods said: "Today was a good day".

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Thursday was the first time since 2015 that Woods broke par in the opening round of a PGA Tour event. He is having a pretty good 2018 season thus far, as he has two top-10 finishes over five tournaments.

"I'm starting to get a better feel for it, I'm finding the rhythm of the rounds, I'm hitting shots, I don't have a problem posting scores".

"I'm able to play more feel golf than just trying to figure out how to play golf again".

The world No.388 last tasted victory at the Bridgestone Invitational in August 2013 but hinted some of his old magic was back when he finished 12th at last month's Honda Classic.

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