POTOMAC (AFP) - Tiger Woods was pleased with a new mallet putter he used competitively for the first time on Thursday (June 28) despite only firing a level-par 70 in the opening round of the Quicken Loans National.
The 14-time Major champion, playing his 11th event in a comeback year after spinal fusion surgery, stood seven strokes behind co-leaders Andrew Landry and J.J. Spaun after 18 holes at TPC Potomac.
"Really didn't give myself a lot of good looks," Woods said. "I made a couple birdies, which is nice, but I have to do a better job to give myself some more chances."
Woods, unhappy with his putting since sharing 32nd place at the Masters, began working last week with the new Ardmore putter and used it to replace his Scotty Cameron, the putter he used in winning 13 Major titles and in his latest return after years of back pain.
"I rolled it well," Woods said. "I hit a lot of good putts. It was nice to feel that again and nice to feel the putter swing.
"I hit a lot of good putts on my line with the speed I wanted. I haven't done that in a while. I haven't been doing that. So that's the positive sign, to keep doing that. Eventually they will start rolling in."
Woods took a double bogey at the par-four sixth but the 42-year-old star answered with birdies at the par-four 14th and 16th holes in a mostly routine round.
"I shot about the score I should have shot," Woods said. "I didn't have anything going for the whole round. I was hanging in there and hanging in there."
Landry and Spaun each shot a bogey-free 63 to share the course record and grab a one-stroke lead over fellow Americans Billy Horschel and Andrew Putnam.
Woods, who won the 2009 and 2012 Nationals when the event was played at nearby Congressional Country Club, vows he is committed to the putter change.
"I'm very committed to it," Woods said. "I've always struggled on greens that are a little on the slower side and these greens aren't very quick right now and they won't be quick in three weeks' time either (at the British Open). So it was a nice thing to move to a putter that rolls a bit quicker."