Woods continues fine form in Florida

Tiger Woods continued his encouraging recent form after ending the opening day of the Valspar Championship within three shots of the lead.

It was an up-and-down round for Woods at the Copperhead Course, in Florida, yet he still managed to finish in touching distance of overnight leader Corey Conners.

The 42-year-old – who earned a 12th placed finish at last month’s Honda Classic – reached the turn at level par and then sank back-to-back birdies on the 10th and 11th.

That was followed by successive bogeys on 12 and 13, yet Woods responded well with a stunning tee shot on the 17th, which earned him a birdie to complete a one under par round of 70.

Woods said: "Today was tough. Trying to pull a club, figure out wind direction, gusts. Into the wind it felt like we were hitting walls. The whole group got fooled a lot today, a tough day all around.

"I'm pleased with every aspect of my game. I drove it well, hit a lot of good iron shots. Overall, I feel I really did well today."

Canada’s Conners is yet to taste a PGA Tour victory, yet he put himself in pole position to break his duck with a round of four under.

That was one shot ahead of South Korea’s Kim Meen-whee and Americans Kelly Kraft and Nick Watney. The trio of Russell Knox, Jimmy Walker and Keegan Bradley are one further back.

But both Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth endured a miserable opening day of the tournament. McIlroy carded a round of 74 to finish on three over, while Spieth was even worse off at five over.