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Woods sets course record in British Open warm-up
by Associated Press

BRITTAS BAY, Ireland (AP) ? Tiger Woods showed on Friday he's ready for next week's British Open with a course record on a tough links course on the east coast of Ireland.

Woods, playing at the 7,300-yard European Club, shot a 5-under-par 67 and called it perfect preparation for his assault on the third leg of golf's Grand Slam next week at Muirfield in Scotland.

"This is great. This links is tough and demanding and just what I needed right now," he said.

This season's Masters and U.S. Open champion played amid tight security with David Duval, Mark O'Meara and Scott McCarron.

Woods played nearly flawless golf on a course where he was required to use every shot in his repertoire.

That included a 4-iron second shot to the long third for his only eagle of the day; a cut 3-iron from behind a bush to the center of the green at the 470-yard 7th; and an immense 2-iron to set up another birdie at the 10th.

Two drivers left him just short of the green at the 596-yard 13th for a routine birdie.

At the 17th, on a high tee giving a view of the entire links and the Irish Sea, Woods' drive finished in deep rough and appearing to be lost.

But he found it and almost hit the flag on the 420-yard hole with a 9-iron that brought gasps from the small crowd in attendance.

His three playing companions did not attempt to compete with Woods' display, Duval being content to use the round primarily for practice. At the finish, course owner Pat Ruddy conferred honorary life membership on the quartet.

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