PALM BEACH GARDENS, United States (AFP) - Struggling to read greens and combine solid putting with accurate ball striking, world number one Tiger Woods opened with a one-over par 71 on Thursday at the US PGA Honda Classic.
The 38-year-old star, a 14-time major winner chasing the all-time record 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus, has now gone five consecutive rounds at PGA National without cracking par.
"It was just one or the other, hit it good and miss the putt or scrap around and make a putt," Woods said. "It certainly wasn't together today."
Woods, who has not won a major since the 2008 US Open, captured five titles last year but has not played well in two events this year, failing to finish the weekend at Torrey Pines and sharing 41st at Dubai.
Starting on the back nine, Woods opened with eight pars before sinking a five-foot birdie putt at the 18th.
But at the par-4 second, Woods found dirt left of the fairway, then punched into the rough and found a greenside bunker with his third shot on the way to a double bogey.
Woods went up and down from a bunker at the par-5 fifth thanks to a five-foot birdie putt but missed a five footer for par at the fifth and a 10-foot par putt at the eighth for bogeys.
A nine-foot birdie putt at the ninth brought a pleasing finish to a tough day when greens were slower than Woods expected.
"I hit it good enough to shoot at least three or four lower than I did," Woods said. "I had so many looks that I just missed. I hit good putts but I didn't figure out the greens as well as I needed to. I need to read them a little better than I did."
Woods, who lives nearby, shared second at the event in 2012 but could not break par in four rounds last year.