Tiger Woods started the day bogey-bogey but the vintage Woods showed up at Royal Liverpool where he's already won a British Open.
After the slow start, Woods was -5 on his remaining holes and finished -3 (69) for the day.
The back 9 included birdies on No. 11, 12 and 13, 15 and 16. The birdie on the 11th, that started the charge echoed the old Woods as he rolled in a putt from slightly off the green.
He did give a shot back on No. 14 when his poor tee shot left him with a tough approach and then a long par putt.
But in Tiger-like fashion he grabbed the stroke back with a spectacular tee shot on the par 3, 15th and a confident 8-foot putt into the back of the hole.
He almost chipped in for eagle on No. 16 before tapping in for birdie.
He parred No. 17 and 18 but even those had drama. His tee shot hit a course worker in the head before settling off the fairway. And on No. 18 he backed off his approach twice as cameras continued to click.
"I felt very calm" Woods said about approaching the first hole of his first major of the year. "Unfortunately, I got off to a horrific start. But I fought back."
Even more positive, the three-time British Open champion has shown no ill effects from the March 31 back surgery that has limited his play this year.
"The back is good," Woods said after the round. "I'm only going to get stronger and faster."
Woods, who won the Open at Royal Liverpool in 2006, shot a 36 (+1) on the front nine and had to scramble a bit to do it.
Woods got off No. 1 well when he hit iron and landed on the fairway.
However, he dumped the ball into the bunker on his second shot and then saw it roll off the back of the green when he blasted out.
He ended up bogeying the hole. And then bogeyed No. 2. It was only the third time in his career that he started a major tournament with two bogeys.
Woods won the British Open at Royal Liverpool in 2006, the last time it was played at the course.
Woods settled down with a tap in par on the third hole and also parred No. 4.
The three-time British Open winner took a stroke back on the par 5, fifth rolling in a 12-footer for birdie. Then he parred No. 6, a par 3 and No. 7, a par 4. On No. 8, he just rimmed out on a 25-foot birdie putt.
The front nine ended with a par 3 and Woods hit a nice tee shot that left him with a 12-foot birdie putt.
The putt came up inches short and he made the turn at +1 shooting a 36.
Woods is playing in his first major of the season. He returned to competition three weeks ago at the Quicken Loans National. He missed the cut in the tournament that benefited his foundation.
He showed no discomfort playing the front nine at Royal Liverpool on Thursday.
He played 50 holes during practice rounds for the British Open – the most he's ever played at a major venue in years.