Tiger Woods in contention after brutal first day of Valspar Championship
Tiger Woods defied conditions he described as "brutal" as he fired an entertaining one-under 70 to lie just three shots off the lead after the first round of the Valspar Championship.
Woods produced several vintage shots, including a remarkable escape from the trees at the 16th followed immediately by a near hole-in-one, and he posted one of only 27 sub-par scores on the opening day as cool, blustery conditions and a tough Copperhead Course at Innisbrook took its toll on the field.
Canadian Corey Connors ended the round with the outright lead after he returned a commendable 67, while Scotland's Russell Knox was one of only seven other players to break 70 as the likes of Rory McIlroy (74) and 2015 champion Jordan Spieth (76) face a tough task to make the halfway cut.
But Woods provided the story of the day on his debut in the tournament, and he got off to an encouraging start as he almost eagled the par-five first, shaving the hole with a sublime flop-shot from the rough which set up a tap-in for birdie.
The 42-year-old paid the price for flying the green at the short fourth as he was unable to get up-and-down for par, and he missed a great chance to get the shot back from six feet at the seventh after he had hit the pin with his approach.....
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