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Woods' 69: 'It could have been a lot better'

LA JOLLA, Calif. - After signing for a 3-under-par 69 Thursday on the North Course at Torrey Pines Golf Course and then signing a few autographs, Tiger Woods marched to the practice putting green, not a location he frequented often during his turbulent 2010 season.

He made 42 four-footers in a row at one stretch with his favorite "gate" drill, where he putts between two tees placed just far enough apart for the putter head to pass through. Then he went to the driving range instead of the player buffet table.

Woods wasn't dissatisfied with his opening round of the 2011 season in the Farmers Insurance Open, but his post-round demeanor suggested he wasn't going to put off tomorrow any improvement he could make today.

"I probably hit the ball well all day," said Woods, who trails leader Sunghoon Kang by five strokes at the event he's won six times. "I hit just a couple of loose shots that I know what I did wrong, which was great, easy fixes and move on from there.

"I didn't leave myself any putts," added Woods, the No. 3 player in the world, who seeks his first PGA Tour victory since the '09 BMW Championship. "Every putt I had was above the hole, breaking two, three, four feet. I never left myself below the hole. When I did, I had a short one there at 7, I hit right through the birdie. So I just need to leave myself better shots. I can't put myself up there above the hole every hole like I did all day."

Woods hit only five of 14 fairways on the North Course, which was playing firm and featured much narrower fairways, but he hit 15 greens. His one measured drive, on the par-4 fourth hole, traveled 329 yards. He failed to birdie any of the par-5s, but he also didn't make any bogeys.

"I'm happy with the way I played," said Woods, who had not played in this event since '08. "It could have been a lot better if I took care of the parÔ┐┐5s a little bit more, but obviously, I didn't do that. So hopefully on the South Course I can take care of the parÔ┐┐5s and put together a little bit better round."

Woods is scheduled to play again with Anthony Kim and Rocco Mediate on Friday, teeing off on No. 1 on the South Course at 10 a.m. (PST). Woods, of course, defeated Mediate in a playoff at the 2008 U.S. Open on the South. He was asked Thursday if he and Mediate had a chance to share any reminiscences.

"No, because we didn't play that golf course," Woods said.

They will Friday. And it looks as if Woods intends to be ready.

-- Dave Shedloski

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