The Latest: Woods off to bogey-free start in Masters defense

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Tiger Woods watches his ball as he misses a birdie putt on the eighth hole during the first round of the Masters golf tournament Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

AUGUSTA, Ga. – The Latest on the Masters, the final golf major of the year (all times EST):

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4:15 p.m.

Tiger Woods has always been a notoriously slow starter at Augusta National, even while winning five green jackets. Not this year.

The defending champion shot a bogey-free, 4-under 68 in the opening round of the Masters, leaving him three shots off the lead and very much in contention for a record-tying sixth title.

It was a big surprise, considering the lackluster form Woods had shown coming into this pandemic-delayed tournament.

Then again, Woods usually plays well at Augusta no matter the circumstances. Nineteen months ago, he rallied on the final day to win his 15th major title.

“It’s just experience. It’s just understanding how to play this golf course,” Woods said. “I have a sense of ease when I come here.”