The key to Merion is to hang on for the opening six holes, take advantage of the short stretch of holes in the middle, and try not to give back shots at the end. After that six-hole start, Woods had one par, two birdies and three bogeys. Two of the bogeys came from poor chip shots from just off the green at No. 3 and No. 5. What saved him was a 50-foot birdie putt on the sixth hole.
But he failed to convert birdie chances on the seventh, eighth and 10th holes — all of them under 400 yards — and he three-putted the 237-yard ninth hole from about 65 feet to drop another shot.
"It's going to be a fast night," Woods said as he left the course.