HOYLAKE, England (AP) – Tiger Woods had an up-and-down first round at the 143rd British Open but finished with a 3-under-69 on Thursday. Playing in just his first major tournament since back surgery last March, the former world No. 1 bogeyed the first two holes. He then finished with six birdies and another bogey over the remaining 16 holes of play at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, England. Woods, who has gone six years without winning a major championship, played the back nine in 4-under 33.
After his round Woods called the first 18 holes a confidence builder.
The leader is two-time major winner Rory McIlroy who played in the morning and had a 6-under-66 that featured six birdies. McIlroy has a history of posting good first rounds before blowing up in the second.
Italy’s Matteo Manassero is alone in second at 5-under while several players, including World No. 1 Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia and Jim Furyk, will start the second round at 4-under.
Reigning PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner shot a 2-under-70.
U.S. Open champ Martin Kaymer shot a 1-under-71 while five-time Open champion Tom Watson shot an opening-round 1-over-73. His roller coaster round featured four birdies, three bogeys and a double-bogey
Defending champion and five-time major winner Phil Mickelson had a wild ride and finished at 2-over while Masters champ Bubba Watson had a good start to his first round but finished with a 76.