(Reuters) - Tiger Woods' much anticipated return to the PGA Tour after an absence of 17 months ended prematurely on Friday with a missed cut at the Farmers Insurance Open outside San Diego.

After struggling to a four-over 76 with a rusty display in the opening round on the more difficult South Course at Torrey Pines, Woods followed up with an even 72 on the revamped North layout to finish four shots outside the projected cutline.

It is the sixth time in his last 12 starts on the PGA Tour that the former world number one has not advanced to the weekend, with five missed cuts and a withdrawal during that span.

While his game was in much better shape on Friday after he had repeatedly leaked shots out to the right the day before, Woods is a shadow of the player who has won the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines a record seven times, and also the 2008 U.S. Open at the same venue.


"It's frustrating not being able to have a chance to win the tournament," Woods told reporters after mixing two birdies with two bogeys to finish at four-over 148.

"Overall, today was a lot better than yesterday. I hit it better, I putted well again. I hit a lot of beautiful putts that didn't go in. We fixed a few things while playing today, which is good ... I'm rusty."

Conditions were tougher at Torrey Pines on Friday with winds of around 20 mph (32 kph) and Woods made a bright start in front of huge galleries when he rolled in a 15-footer to birdie his opening hole, the par-five 10th.

Though he stumbled with a bogey at the par-three 12th, where he was bunkered off the tee and bladed his second shot, he comfortably parred the next six holes to reach the turn in even-par 36.

Woods offset a bogey at the par-three third, where he was short of the green off the tee, with a two-putt birdie at the par-five fifth and narrowly missed birdie putts on eight and nine before exiting the tournament.

"I need to get more rounds under my belt, and more playing time," said Woods, who will next compete in the Feb. 2-5 Dubai Desert Classic and the Feb. 16-19 Genesis Open at Riviera in the Los Angeles metro area.

"I'm trying to get ready for that first week in April,” he said, referring to the April 6-9 Masters, the first of the year’s four majors. "That's where eventually I want to have everything to come together."

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in St. Augustine, Florida; Editing by Andrew Both)

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