Woods opens with 2-under 70

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 and Sergio Garcia both fired a 66 to
share the lead.

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 played a bogey-free first round to grab the share of the
lead.