Tiger Woods finally takes advantage of the par-5s, opens with 70

Devil Ball Golf

Tiger Woods had a lot of reasons to smile after his opening-round 70 at the Memorial. While most of the field was struggling to score, the 14-time major winner emerged relatively unscathed from a Muirfield Village layout he characterized as "a hell of a test."

With the exception of a double-bogey on the 18th hole (his ninth hole of the day), Woods looked solid in his opening round, hitting nine fairways, 12 greens in regulation and taking 28 putts.

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It wasn't a ground-breaking round by any means, but on a day when the course was playing firm and fast (with the greens reportedly rolling close to 14 on the Stimpmeter), it was more than enough to get within four shots of the leaders the way Woods was handling the par-5s.

If you've heard Woods talk over the last few months, you likely know he's been frustrated with his play on the par-5s.

In his last three events, he was a collective 6-under on the par-5s. For a guy who has aspirations of winning every time he tees it up (he was a 12-under on the par-5s during his win at Bay Hill), those numbers clearly won't get it done.

Maybe that's why Woods left the course feeling good about his vanilla round. When you've struggled as much as he has over the last couple of months, taking advantage of the par-5s for a change has to feel like a positive.

"Well, I haven't played the par‑5s particularly well the last few tournaments, and today was a good example," Woods said after his round. "I played them great.  The one on 11 should have been a birdie, as well.  I hit two really nice shots in there."

If Muirfield continues to firm up, Woods won't need a herculean effort to stay within shouting distance of the leaders -- especially if he continues to make the most of the three-shotters.

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