Masters and is currently six shots back of leader Rory McILroy, who opened with a 65. Woods shot a front nine 35 with a birdie at six, and an even par 36 on the back nine with bogeys at 10 and 11 before rebounding with birdies at 13 and 14.
Tiger Woods first round photo gallery
Woods nearly holed out his third shot at the par-5 15th for eagle but had to settle for par after missing a 10 footer for his birdie. On 17, after hitting his approach shot over the green from the trees, he played a magnificent flop shot, stopping the ball just two feet from the hole and saved his par. At the 18th, he stuck his approach shot to 10 feet, but missed the putt after over-reading the break.
"I hit a lot of beautiful putts today," Woods said after the round to ESPN. "Realistically, I could of had a 68 or 69."
Asked if he felt confident with his swing changes, he replied, "Absolutely. This is a major championship. It's go time. I'm only six shots off the lead."
This is a decent start for Woods because as the saying goes, you can't win the Masters after the first round, but you can lose it. A 71 puts him in a good position, just six shots off the current lead heading into Friday.