Tiger Woods struggles as Sergio Garcia leads Dubai Desert Classic

Tiger Woods
Woods missed the cut Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego in January
Dubai Desert Classic first round
-7 S Garcia (Spa); -6 F Aguilar, G Coetzee (SA); -5 I Poulter (Eng), D Lipsky (US), N Elvira (Spa), N Bertasio (Ita)
Selected others: -4 G McDowell (NI), H Stenson (Swe), -1 D Willett (Eng), +5 T Woods (US)
Leaderboard

Tiger Woods failed to card a birdie as he shot a five-over-par 77 to trail leader Sergio Garcia by 12 shots at the Dubai Desert Classic.

The 14-time major winner, playing in his first European Tour event after a back injury, faces missing successive cuts after struggling at Torrey Pines.

"I was trying to hit shots and I wasn't doing a good job," said Woods, 41.

"I could have shot something near even par if I would have made some putts but I made nothing."

Starting his opening round on the back nine, Woods got off to a poor start as he found a bunker and bogeyed the par-five opener.

He dropped another shot on the 12th before his approach shot fell short of the 18th green and rolled back into the water, leading to his third bogey of the day.

Woods, who returned to action last December after 15 months out following surgery, had a three-putt bogey on the fifth and missed par from five feet on the sixth.

Woods insisted he had not suffered an injury setback despite climbing awkwardly out of a greenside bunker early on and grimacing as he walked off the tee on his 16th hole.

"No, I wasn't in pain at all," Woods said. "I was just trying to hit shots and I wasn't doing a very good job. At the end I finally hit some good ones but the damage had already been done."

Spain's Garcia said his seven-under-par 65 was "a nice way to start; a good solid round".

He holed six birdies and an eagle to lead by one from Chile's Felipe Aguilar and South Africa's George Coetzee, with England's Ian Poulter a shot further back after a 67.

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