Watched by huge galleries after teeing off at the par-four tenth on the Spyglass Hill Golf Course, the former world No 1 reached the turn at two-under 34, five strokes off the early pace in the opening round.
On a glorious sun-splashed morning, Woods made a sizzling start with consecutive birdies, hitting a superb approach to three feet at the par-4 tenth and narrowly missing an eagle putt from 14 feet at the par-5 11th.
The 14-times major winner made his first mistake of the day at the par-4 13th where he pulled his tee shot into the left fairway bunker.
From an awkward stance, Woods failed to reach the green in two and ended up with a bogey. After comfortably parring the next three holes, he picked up another shot at the par-four 17th where his approach shot pitched beyond the cup and spun back to within ten feet.
Another par followed at the 18th for Woods to enter his back nine at two under on the most difficult of the three venues hosting this week’s event.
He picked up another shot to sit at three under with three to play
New Zealander Danny Lee and South Korean Charlie Wi were tied for the lead. Lee recorded two eagles en route to a nine-under-par 63, while Wi opened with a nine-under 61 at Monterey Peninsula.
Scotland’s Martin Laird was the highest-placed Briton on the leaderboard after going through nine holes in three under.
Ireland’s Padraig Harrington was on level par through 12 holes.