Tiger sits 3 back after 1st-round 68 at PGA Championship
Ezra Shaw / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Tiger Woods opened his quest for a 16th major title with a 2-under 68 in Round 1 of the PGA Championship on Thursday to sit three off the pace set by Jason Day.

Playing in just his fifth competitive round since February, Woods started the day at TPC Harding Park with a scrappy birdie on the par-5 10th. He pulled his drive into the rough, then hit a squirely approach that left him short-sided. But a brilliant flop shot to eight feet helped him put an early circle on the card.

Aside from two errant drives that led to bogeys on Nos. 2 and 14, Woods hit the ball well with a swing that looked healthy. He finished his round with positive figures in all strokes-gained categories.

The brightest spot for Woods was his putter, though not the iconic Scotty Cameron with which he won 14 of his 15 majors. The 44-year-old opted for a slightly longer putter this week in order to reduce stress on his back, and it worked.

Tiger ranked top 20 in strokes gained: putting at the end of his round, which included a 32-footer on No. 13 to put him at 2-under.

"I've been messing around with this putter for the better part of over a year," Woods said afterward.

He added: "This putter is just a little bit longer and I've been able to spend a little bit more time (practicing) putting. ... Every now and again, (the Scotty Cameron) needs to be benched and this was a good week for it."

In total, Woods made five birdies and three bogeys for his lowest opening-round score in a major since the 2012 Open Championship.

Woods' second round begins Friday at 4:58 p.m. ET.

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Tiger sits 3 back after 1st-round 68 at PGA Championship
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