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US Open: Tiger Woods begins his hunt at Pebble Beach

Cam Inman, The Mercury News on

Published in Golf

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Tiger Woods' pumped his fist once his putt dropped. The crowd roared its approval. Then he marched to the next tee box as his playing partners cleaned up their putts.

Classic U.S. Open form by Woods at this sacred venue, right?

Not exactly. His highlight Thursday resulted in a mere yet unexpected par on the 14th hole, and it typified how Woods' opening-round focus was to minimize mistakes.

That 30-foot, par-saving putt atop the 14th hole also kept alive Woods' streak in which he made par on all his final 11 holes for a 1-under 70.

"I just hung in there with pars," Woods said. "I'm very pleased to shoot under par today."

Inviting conditions -- overcast skies, temperatures in the low 60s, light breeze, clean greens -- allowed 27 others to also finish under par.

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Justin Rose, one of Woods' playing partners, snapped out of his own par parade (seven straight holes) to finish with three consecutive birdies and shoot a 65. That gave Rose that outright lead and matched Woods' grand entrance in 2000 for the lowest first-round score in six U.S. Opens held here.

Rose, Woods and Jordan Spieth will rise early to reunite for Friday's round, starting at the No. 10 tee at 8:24 a.m.

"It's a quick turnaround," Woods said. "We have the harder side to start off on, and hopefully I can finish strong on the front side and have the (first) seven holes where I can get it going."

He got his major-championship form back two months ago at The Masters, so Woods predictably attracted the largest galleries.

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