Late birdies help save Tiger Woods' opening round at Augusta

Competing in his first Masters since 2015, Tiger Woods fought back from a shaky start to post a creditable score on Thursday.

Tiger Woods   -  (Getty Images)

Tiger Woods did not bring his sharpest form to the first round of the Masters on Thursday, but grinded away superbly to card a one-over 73.

Playing in his first Masters since 2015, Woods fell to three over through 12 holes before two late birdies ensured he was five off the early lead as he completed his opening round.

Starting the day in all black, the former world number one hooked his opening tee shot left into the gallery. He recovered a par and then birdied the par-four third, but quickly dropped shots on the fourth and fifth holes and never saw red figures again.

Bogeys at 11 and 12 - where he did well to make four after finding water off the tee - left him with more work to do.

However, fine approach shots set up birdies at the 14th and 16th as Woods finished strongly.

A four-time Masters champion, Woods has not slipped on a green jacket since 2005. He will need to improve on the par-fives this week in order to challenge. On Thursday, he could only manage four pars on the longest holes.

Having regained form and fitness following a succession of back surgeries, he will surely be happy to have at least carded a respectable opening-day score.