Grand Blanc, Mich. — Tiger Woods, in his first tournament since his Grand Slam chances ended at the British Open, shot a 5-under 67 Thursday and was two strokes behind first-round leader Kent Jones at the Buick Open. Mark Brooks and K.J. Choi shot 66s.
Woods, who led a group of nine that included Hal Sutton, started solid and finished strong with two birdies in his last three holes. His iron play was excellent, but his putting was inconsistent.
Another group of 14 including Mark O'Meara and David Toms, who will defend his PGA Championship next week had 68s.
Woods was making his third PGA Tour start in 11 weeks.
He was the first player since Jack Nicklaus in 1972 to win the first two legs of the Grand Slam the Masters and the U.S. Open but an 81 in third round of the British Open at Muirfield ended the chance at winning the third leg. The PGA Championship at Hazeltine in Minnesota, where Woods will defend his title, is the fourth major.
Jones, who is 130th on the money list, has missed the cut in four of his last five events and his best career finish was a tie for eighth at Pebble Beach in February. His second-best finish is a tie for 12th at the 1998 Buick Open.
Jones birdied three of the first four holes and four of the last six to fall one stroke short of his career-best round.
Brooks has had an awful year, but is coming off a strong performance at The International where he finished third, his only top 10 finish of the year. Brooks, who won the 1996 PGA Championship, has made the cut in just nine of 20 tournaments this year.