Golf: Woods on track with impressive round

Tiger Woods' charge towards a 15th major golf championship is on track after an impressive opening round in the US Open at the Olympic Club. Photo / Getty Images.
Tiger Woods' charge towards a 15th major golf championship is on track after an impressive opening round in the US Open at the Olympic Club. Photo / Getty Images.

Tiger Woods' charge towards a 15th major golf championship is on track after an impressive opening round in the US Open at the Olympic Club.

While several big names struggled on the treacherous track, Woods fired a one-under-par 69 to be tied for second, with only countryman Michael Thompson between him and the top of the leaderboard.

The 27-year-old Thompson, in just his third major, jumped out to an early lead with a very impressive 66 - his round including seven birdies and just three bogeys.

Englishman Justin Rose, Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell and fellow Americans David Toms and Nick Watney joined Woods in the clubhouse at one-under.

Watney was still celebrating just the third albatross in US Open history after he holed out a five iron from 190 yards on the par-five 17th.

Australian major championship debutant Alistair Presnell carded an even-par 70 to be tied seventh, made even more impressive given the course average was almost 75.

Woods scored a clear points decision in the morning power group with Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson struggling to 76 and 78 respectively.

They weren't the only big names copping an Olympic hiding with world No.1 Luke Donald shooting 79 and No.2 and defending champion Rory McIlroy carding a 77.

Woods, a 14-time major champion, appeared calm and in control throughout his round as he looks for his first major since the 2008 US Open.

"I played well today. I felt like I had control of my game all day and just stuck to my game plan and executed my game plan," Woods said.

While he was rarely flustered, he wasn't surprised others found the going tough.

"This golf course, it's so demanding and if you're off your game just a little bit, you're going to pay the price," Woods added.

"And it's hard to make pars. This is one of those opens where it's just really hard to make birdies.

"This is not like it was last year. This is a tough one. This is tough to make birdies. You've got to really grind and, for me, I thought I hit the ball well today."

Presnell opened his major championship career with a bogey but added just one more all day and cancelled them out with two nice birdies.

He came off the course very happy with his efforts.

"I'm absolutely thrilled with that," Presnell said.

"Even if you had offered me a few more over par at the start of the round, I probably would have taken it.

"To do that on day one in my first major was terrific."

John Senden was the next best of the Australians at two-over-par in a tie for 23rd.

It was tough going for the rest of the Aussie tilt.

Rod Pampling (74), Jason Day (75), Aaron Baddeley (75), Brendan Jones (76), Geoff Ogilvy (76), Adam Scott (76) and Anthony Summers (76) will all have to play well on Friday to make the cut.

-AAP

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