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Tiger pleased with first round 69

by Derrick Johnson on January 28, 2011

Playing for the first time since being displaced as the world's number two golfer, Tiger Woods opened the Farmers Insurance Open with a 3-under 69 on Thursday. Though he stands five strokes behind first round leader, South Korea's 

Playing with Rocco Mediate for the first time since the two had an epic face-off during the 2008 U.S. Open, Woods struggled to hit fairways, only landing on 4 of 15. Starting on the back nine, he birdied the par 3 12th hole and then birdied the second and sixth holes after making the turn. While he didn't drop any shots during the round, played at Torrey Pines, he failed to birdie any of the par 5s, usually a go-to hole when it comes to scoring.

"I'm happy with the way I played, absolutely," Woods told The Associated Press. "It could have been a lot better if I took care of the par 5s a little bit more, but obviously I didn't do that."

Woods is coming of his worst season as a professional in which he failed to win a tournament for the first time in his career. He came close at the Chevron World Challenge, but blew a fourth round lead to U.S. Open winner Graeme McDowell and lost in the playoff. If there is anywhere that he could regain his winning stroke it is Torrey Pines, a place where he was won seven times – including a U.S. Open.

In front of Woods on the leaderboard is a veritable who's who of young talent. Behind Kang is 2010 PGA Rookie of the Year Rickie Fowler and 25-year-old Chris Kirk. However, there were some familiar names as well, including John Daly, who opened with a surprising 5-under to place himself in contention. 

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