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Added June 15th, 2012 by Chalk

Tiger Woods Starts US Open Strong, Three Back

Tiger Woods was one of only six players to break par in Thursday’s first round of the 2012 US Open in San Francisco. Tiger, the pre-tournament favorite, was pleased with his performance after opening with a 1-under 69 that was good for a five-way tie for second, three shots behind opening round leader Michael Thompson.

Happy Tiger:

I felt very pleased with every facet of my game. I stayed very patient out there and … I was very pleased how I executed my game plan. I know I can hit the ball this way and I know I have been hitting the golf ball this way for some time. And I was able to put it together in a major championship. I’m going to need it the next three days. This golf course is only going to get faster.

Tiger’s playing partners for the opening two rounds both got off to rough starts: longtime rival Phil Mickelson with a 6-over 76, and 2012 Masters champ Bubba Watson even worse at 8-over 78.  “It’s a lot better than I am,” Watson said of this year’s Open course at SF’s Olympic Club. “That golf course is too tough for me. But we’ve got another day to try to figure it out.”

The three golfers currently ahead of Tiger in the world rankings also struggled: World Number One Luke Donald didn’t make a single birdie in his opening round 79, defending US Open Champ Rory McIlroy shot a 77, and England’s Lee Westwood was tied for 40th after opening with a 3-over 73.

Sharing second place with Tiger are 2010 US Open champ Graeme McDowell, England’s Justin Rose, and Americans Nick Watney and David Toms. First round leader Thompson is a second-year pro who finished second at the US Amateur five years ago on the same course.

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