Woods makes lacklustre start at US Open

The US Open gave Tiger Woods a rude welcome back on Thursday.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:34 IST
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Mamaroneck, New York:

The US Open gave Tiger Woods a rude welcome back on Thursday. For Colin Montgomerie, it was a surprisingly happy return. Playing for the first time since his father died, Woods ended a nine-week layoff with bogeys on his first three holes that sent him to his highest start ever in the US Open. He had to play the final six holes one under par to escape with a six-over 76, leaving him seven shots behind Montgomerie in the toughest first round of this major in 20 years. Woods looked somber at times, although that was more likely a product of Winged Foot that memories of his father. "Everyone was looking for me to be more emotional,'' he said. "But I'm trying to put the ball in the hole and win the championship.'' No one did that better than Monty. A perennial contender at the US Open in his prime, Montgomerie overcame a rugged start by relying on his strength - fairways and greens - and his 1-under 69 was the only round under par. Masters champion Phil Mickelson got off to a solid start in his bid for a third straight major, making a pair of 30-foot birdie putts and a bunch of short ones for par that proved equally important. He wound up at even-par 70, along with Jim Furyk, David Howell, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Steve Stricker. Howell managed to make six birdies and was 4 under par with four holes to play. But he started missing fairways, which inevitably left him testy putts for par, and dropped four shots down the stretch, three-putting for double bogey on the 18th. (AP)