Golf

Woods in the mix with opening 70

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AUGUSTA, Georgia (AP)

If such a feat is possible, then Tiger Woods put up a quiet 2-under-par 70 in the first round of the Masters on Thursday as Australia's Marc Leishman fired an early 66 to take the lead and Sergio Garcia was charging late.

Woods, heavily favored coming into the tournament, made a bogey at No. 14 and saw a short birdie putt slide by the hole on No. 15 to mar what could have been an even better start to the season's first major tournament.

Woods has already won three times this year and reclaimed his No. 1 spot in the world rankings. But he hasn't captured a major since 2008, and it's been eight years since he claimed his fourth green jacket at Augusta. He is still four majors shy of tying Jack Nicklaus' record 18 championships - a mark that becomes a little more daunting each time the 37-year-old Woods fails to win one of golf's biggest events.

Maybe this will be the week he breaks the longest major-less drought of his career.

''I feel comfortable with every aspect of my game,'' Woods said beforehand. ''I feel that I've improved and I've gotten more consistent, and I think the wins show that.''

Leishman shot a 6-under 66 and surged to the front with four straight birdies on the back side starting at No. 13. Not bad, considering the Australian had missed the cut in his only other Masters appearance in 2010.

Garcia was 5-under through 10 holes in making a run at the top of the leaderboard.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Tagged: Tiger Woods, Tim Clark, Luke Donald, Marc Leishman, Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter, David Lynn, Nick Faldo, Gary Player, Kevin Na, Jack Nicklaus

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