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Back pain eases but Woods can't keep pace with Mickelson

Tiger Woods (L) and Phil Mickelson, both of the United States, walk up the sixth fairway during the first round of the Deutsche Bank Champio
Tiger Woods (L) and Phil Mickelson, both of the United States, walk up the sixth fairway during the first round of the Deutsche Bank Champio

By Simon Evans

NORTON, Massachusetts (Reuters) - 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.

(Reporting By Simon Evans, editing by Steve Keating)

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