Fred Couples took a one-shot lead in the first round of the Masters on Thursday in Georgia.
But the real story was Tiger Woods, who produced much better form than expected in his return to competitive golf.
The disgraced world No. 1, welcomed back from self-imposed exile by cheering crowds at Augusta National, soared into contention with two eagles on the way to a 4-under-par 68 — two strokes off the pace.
“It felt really good just to get out there, get into the rhythm of the round and … go about my business,” Woods said after breaking 70 for the first time in the opening round at Augusta in his 16th Masters appearance.
“Everybody seemed to go low today and there are 30-plus guys under par. So the golf course, even though it was windy, it could be had today. Unfortunately I didn’t putt very well today; otherwise it would have been a pretty special round.”
Asked about his warm reception by the fans, Woods replied: “It was unbelievable all day. I haven’t heard them cheer this loud in all my years here.”
While the 14-time major winner drew the fans, 1992 champion Couples fired a sizzling 66 to take control.