Tiger Woods Returns to Action at the Memorial Tournament, Finishes One Under on the First Day

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Tiger Woods returned to the PGA Tour after a five-month hiatus Thursday looking for a record sixth title at the Memorial Tournament.

He opened and closed the round with birdies, finishing at one under 71 and just inside the top 20.

The 15-time major winner is competing alongside four-time major winner Brooks Koepka and No. 1-ranked Rory McIlroy in the first two rounds.

Woods's last official event was on Feb. 16, when he shot 77 in the last round of the Genesis Open, finishing at the bottom of those who made the cut. 

Since that day, he pulled out of the Arnold Palmer Invitational and The Players Championship because of a stiff back. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic forced golf to stop for 91 days.

The PGA Tour restarted last month, but Woods has missed four events. 

Woods has won the Memorial a record five times. He owns the only three-peat in Memorial Tournament history when he won from 1999-2001.

Ohio is one of three states where Woods has tallied more than a dozen PGA Tour victories, and with a win this week, he could join Sam Snead as one of the only golfers to win a PGA Tour event in four different decades (1990s, 2000s, 2010s, 2020s).

Woods will tee off again at 8:17 am EST on Friday on the Golf Channel and CBS Sports. 

Hole 18, par 4 - Birdie (-1)

Woods found the right side of the fairway off his tee shot on 18, landing on the first cut and placing him 163 yards from the hole. His second shot landed with a notable bounce, settling 14 feet and four inches from the flag. Woods sunk his fourth birdie of the round, ending at one under in his return championship. 

Hole 17, par 4 - Par (Even)

Woods's first stroke off the tee landed in the right fairway bunker on 17, with 179 yards to the hole. On his second stroke, Woods lifted the ball over the lip and onto the back edge, facing a difficult slope to the flag. He dribbled it down the hill, settling four feet and five inches from the hole and sinking another par. Heading into the last hole, Woods was six off the lead.

Hole 16, par 3 - Bogie (Even)

Woods pulled into the back bunker on his first stroke on 16. A quick par three, he had little time to recover and hit a chip out of the green for a bogie. With two holes left, Woods sat at even par.

Hole 15, par 5 - Birdie (-1)

Woods missed the fairway in his stroke off the tee on 15, landing in the right rough. After a lay-up, he hit his third strike from 109 yards, landing just inches from the flag and setting Woods up for his first birdie since 3.

Hole 14, par 4 - Par (Even)

After hitting a lay-up with an iron off the tee on 14, Woods used his second stroke to send the ball behind the hole, landing 13 feet and nine inches from the flag. He remained even through 14 after a two-putt par.

Hole 13, par 4 - Par (Even)

Woods hit a 315-yard shot off the tee on 13, missing the fairway and landing in the rough. He used his wedge on his second shot, which bounded over the back edge. Coming out of the rough, he landed three feet from the hole and tapped in for another par.

Hole 12, par 3 - Par (Even)

Facing several water hazards on 12, Woods aimed high on his first stroke. He landed 17 feet from the hole on his second stroke, once again missing a birdie putt and sinking a tap-in par. 

Hole 11, par 5 - Par (Even)

Woods found the fairway off a strong 276-yard tee shot on 11. He hit a lay up from 271 yards while facing strong winds on the course. Starting 75 yards from the hole on his third shot, Woods aimed deep, landing a comfortable eight feet from the hole. His birdie attempt bled over the right edge and Woods settled for another tap-in par. 

Hole 10, par 4 - Par (Even)

All three players sat at even par going into 10, where Woods's drive just caught the fairway for the first cut. Putting 21 feet and 7 inches from the hole on his third stroke, Woods again narrowly missed the birdie, instead sinking a tap-in par. 

Hole 9, par 4 - Par (Even)

Facing winds over 15 miles per hour, Woods found the fairway on the right-hand side off his first shot on 9. On his third putt, he was 32 feet from the hole, which positioned him to sink an easy par on the next stroke. 

Hole 8, par 3 - Bogey (Even)

On a difficult and windy par three, Woods once again missed the green on 8. He was scrambling on his second putt, landing 24 feet and five inches from the hole. Woods narrowly missed par for his second bogey of the round, bringing him back to even par.

Hole 7, par 5 - Par (-1)

Woods found the fairway with a 279-yard tee shot and swung into a greenside bunker on the second putt. From 290 yards to the hole, Woods was faced with a difficult shot. He attempted a birdie 10 feet and two inches from the hole but narrowly missed and instead made par. 

Hole 6, par 4 - Bogey (-1)

Woods missed his second fairway in a row and found the left rough off his first shot on the sixth hole. Going into his second putt, he was 142 yards to the hole, faced with gusting winds and water in front. Putting for par, Woods was 10 feet and 6 inches from the hole but missed on the right side for his first bogey of the round.

Hole 5, par 5 - Par (-2)

Coming into the round's first par 5, Woods hit a difficult tee-shot and landed in the rough. His first missed fairway of the round placed him in a difficult position for his next putts, with 227 yards to hole on his third. In a strong return, Woods hit a long iron into the center of the green. He made a 47-yard birdie putt on four, landing him 4 feet and 2 inches away from the hole for an easy par.

Hole 4, par 3 - Par (-2)

Woods carried his first shot on the fairway a bit deep, landing him about 53 feet to the hole and sinking a par. He sat two-under in the first four holes. 

Hole 3, par 4 - Birdie (-2)

Woods found the fairway on a short par 4, while Koepka again found the water off the tee. On his second putt, Woods hit it to tap-in range from a 107-yard putt and then easily sunk a birdie on his third putt. 

Hole 2, par 4 - Par (-1)

Battling the wind, Woods found the fairway again with his drive on this 450-yard par 4. A wedge shot gave him a 38-foot birdie putt, but Woods two-putted to make par.  

Hole 1, par 4 - Birdie (-1)

Woods found the fairway off the tee with his 3-wood. He barely missed the flag on his second shot, but he birdied by sinking his putt from close to 12 feet away.