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It started back up at Muirfield Village the same way it ended in 2015 for Tiger Woods: poorly. Woods, who ended his last Memorial with an 85-74 weekend and finished last of players who made the cut, shot an even-par 72 on Thursday in Round 1 of the 2018 edition, but his first few holes trended closer to that 85 a few years back than the 72 he eventually ended up with.

Woods’ issues off the tee this year have been well-documented, and they were again a nuisance on Thursday. He hit just one of his first five fairways, and it led to a 4-over score through his first seven holes of the day (Woods started on the back nine at Muirfield Village).

Woods pulled it together at the end of his round with a birdie on the 17th hole (his 8th of the day) and then started looking like somebody who’s currently ranked No. 10 on the PGA Tour in strokes gained (which he is) on the front side. He birdied the second (his 11th of the day) and followed that with three more over his final five holes to get back to even par and inside the top 40 at the time he finished.

Woods was seven off the lead when he headed for the clubhouse.

He noted after his round that his back was tight but that it was nothing unusual for what he’s going to go through over the last years of his career as a high-level golfer.

As has been the case all year, Woods struggled mightily off the tee. He lost over two strokes to the field, mostly due to an out-of-bounds drive on No. 15 which led to double bogey. He made up for it with his approach shots and play around the green. But unlike most of his other performances so far this season, he didn’t putt well. He needed 29 putts to make it through the round and lost strokes to the field average in that category.

Tiger, who has won here five times and has eight total top-five appearances, will play the final three rounds from behind the eight ball, but he’s at least not flirting with a missed cut.

It’s a disappointing start for Woods, who came into this tournament with high hopes following four top-12 finishes in the early part of his season and with the U.S. Open on deck. In a field loaded with this many starts, a poor first round is not a recipe for success or winning at Muirfield Village. Woods is capable of the three straight 67s he might need to get back in and feasibly contend for the tournament, but he’s got a long way to go between now and Sunday afternoon.

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