TIGER WOODS ended a six-year wait to lead the Masters – before a late stumble dropped him back.
The four-time Masters winner took a share of the lead on three under midway through day one after a birdie on the 14th.
But a bogey on the par-4 17th slipped him back to two under before he parred the last for an opening round of 70.
At exactly 2.58pm local time, the mighty roar that echoed around Augusta told you that Tigermania was back at the Masters.
The huge crowds had just got what they wanted most, the sight of Tiger Woods’ name back on the giant scoreboards dotted all around the property.
Woods, 43, had made a birdie on the par five 13th to get to two under par, and at that stage he was up into a share of third place, just one shot behind clubhouse leader Justin Harding of South Africa.
The 13th is situated on one of the most distant parts of the course, but the cheers could be heard all the way back in the clubhouse.
And it got even louder as Woods produced a great escape from the trees on 14 to hit the green – and then poured in a curling 25 footer for birdie, to claim a share of the early lead.
The trademark fist pump that greeted his birdie at 14 was another glimpse of the old Tiger.
The adrenaline was clearly pumping through those bulging muscles as Woods split the fairway on the long 15th, and left himself 229 yards to the flag.
Unfortunately, it was pumping a bit too much. He battered his second shot 270 yards, and had to scramble to save par from way over the back of the green.
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And his hopes of keeping his name on top of the leaderboard evaporated as his worst drive of the day clattered into the trees down the side of the 17th hole, and he was unable to find the hole with a nine footer for par.
A two under par 70 seemed a bit of a letdown after the earlier burst of excitement. But Woods has only managed to go lower than that in the opening round once in 21 previous visits to Augusta.
That was in 2010, and a four under par 68 did not do him much good then – he finished tied fourth.