Back pain eases but Woods can`t keep pace with Mickelson

Norton: Tiger Woods appeared untroubled by recent back pains but was disappointed with a three-under par round 68 on a low scoring day at the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on Friday.

Woods, the FedExCup leader, was playing in the same group as leader Phil Mickelson, who shot a superb eight-under 63 after making seven birdies on his front nine.

But the world number one was unable to match his playing partner`s brilliance on the green, ending five shots behind Mickelson.

"I don`t think it was as good as I wanted. The golf course was beautiful today. I shot a decent number," said Woods.

"I didn`t hit it as well as I`d like to. Overall it could be a little better for sure.

"There was not a lot going on with me. I didn`t give myself a lot of looks but Phil was getting everything."

Woods had skipped practice this week after suffering a back spasm on the 13th hole in Sunday`s Barclays Championship and he did not swing a club until Thursday`s Pro-Am.

Although the 14-times major winner has been receiving treatment - including ultrasound and soft-tissue massage - he said he had no issues during the first round.

"The back is fine, all good. It helped having an extra day off, it made a difference," said Woods, referring to the Friday start to the tournament.

Woods had said on Thursday that his normal routine of practice after a round might be limited by his back trouble but after his round said he intended to head to the range for a session.


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