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Woods makes slow start to Open warm-up

After sitting out last month’s US Open, Tiger Woods is back playing competitive golf, tuning up for the Open Championship at a pro-am event in Ireland.

“I don’t know how I’m going to get my cart around here,” Woods joked on Monday regarding the large gathering of people surrounding the first tee.

Woods shot a five-over-par 77 in the first round of the two-day JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort in County Limerick.

One of 50 professionals playing stroke play alongside three amateur partners, the highlight of Woods’ round was a chip-in eagle at the par-5 12th hole that thrilled the crowd. But he also had a double bogey, six bogeys and just one birdie.

“Just don’t look at our scorecard, but we’re having fun,” Woods said during the round.

The 46-year-old last played at the PGA Championship in May, his second start after recovering from a brutal right leg injury that kept him away from the sport for more than 14 months. He made the cut but withdrew after the third round.

The 15-time major winner committed to the pro-am back in April after he announced he would play in the 150th Open between July 14-17 at St Andrews, the site of Woods’ 2000 and 2005 Open victories and the most iconic course in the Open rotation. The event benefits charities in Ireland and gives players a chance to get acclimatised to Europe ahead of the final major of the year.

Xander Schauffele, eight days removed from winning the Travelers Championship on the PGA Tour, shot an eight-under 64 to take a three-shot lead over Rickie Fowler in the individual competition. England’s Tyrrell Hatton was in third at four under.

The pro-am also allowed LIV Golf Invitational Series members to play. Brooks Koepka, fresh off his first LIV appearance, was tied for fourth at three under with Irishmen Shane Lowry and Seamus Power and South African Brandon Stone. Dustin Johnson (70), Bryson DeChambeau (72) and England’s Lee Westwood (72) were among the other LIV-aligned participants.

LPGA Tour up-and-comer Leona Maguire of Ireland was the only woman in the field and opened with an even-par 72.

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