Briefly, Tiger was back atop the Masters leaderboard

Briefly, Tiger was back atop the Masters leaderboard

And he made the 15-foot putt on the 14th for birdie.

Day received treatment on his back beside the second hole but stood up from his early round massage and belted a 254m second shot into the par-five second and two-putted for birdie.

He holed out from behind the green at No. 12, picked up birdies on the par 5s and rolled in a bending 20-footer in between on the 14th.

As the early groups wrapped up their first round of the Masters on Thursday at Augusta National Golf Club, much of the talk was about there not being any real low scores on the scoreboard. "They will get faster as the week goes on, so it's just a matter of adjusting".

"I feel like I played well today and I controlled my golf ball all day", said Woods, who is among a pack of 10 golfers four shots behind the co-leaders after a two-under-par 70.

"It's been a while since I've been in contention here, but the last two majors (2018 British Open and US PGA Championship) count for something", Woods said of his sixth and second placings past year.

The former PGA Championship victor gingerly picked up his tee and then was tended to beside the tee box, where he performed some stretches before going on to make birdie.

Four of the top five players birdied the par-3 16th.

The golfer, who has had numerous injuries over the years, appeared to be favoring and flexing the ankle as he approach the green, but he seemed to be OK as play continued.

It was three, actually, since Woods opened with a 74 in 2005 before roaring back to win in a playoff with Chris DiMarco.

"We still have a long way to go", he said.

But the 2013 Masters victor missed a short par putt on the par-3 16th - the bogey dropping him back into a tie for the lead at seven under alongside Day. "So I'm not taking any real demons, any bad shots or bad memories into them, I suppose".

"I ended up going to England that night, saw a specialist there, (and) they recommended unfortunately for me the only way to get rid of the pain I was living in was to have the spinal fusion surgery", Woods said at the Golf Writers of America annual dinner. "(I) was able to execute a lovely 9-iron on 12 that kind of jump started my back nine, hitting it to five feet, making that putt got me rolling".

Rory McIlroy, who would complete a career Grand Slam with a victory at Augusta, had a disappointing day, finishing one-over as more big names struggled to tame the famous course.

He got to one-under with a birdie at the par-three 16th before closing with another brace of bogeys. "When you play in front of a lot of people things happen".

Francesco Molinari opened up a two-shot lead as he neared the end of his second round at the Masters, after Bryson DeChambeau stumbled badly around the turn.

Jordan Spieth was back at level par for the tournament through 13 holes on Friday, having shot 75 on day one.

Adam Scott admits he'll need an historic final round to win a second Masters title after he and countryman Jason Day blew golden chances to start the final day in serious contention.

Woods was forced to lay up on the par-5 15th and gave himself a lengthy look at birdie.

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