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Matteson leads by 1 in Malaysia; Woods 3 shots back

Photo: Vincent Thian/AP

Tiger Woods made seven birdies and two bogeys on Thursday.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Tiger Woods birdied five holes on the back nine in his first trip back to Malaysia since winning the 1999 World Cup to end the day three strokes behind first-round leader Troy Matteson at the CIMB Classic on Thursday.

Matteson made eight birdies in a bogey-free 8-under 63 for a one-stroke lead over fellow Americans Jeff Overton, Brian Harman and Robert Garrigus.

Woods was 2 under early, but slipped to even par after nine holes after par putts lipped out on the eighth and ninth.

The 14-time major winner started his comeback with a birdie putt over an incline from 20 feet on the 10th, the first of his five birdies on the back nine as he finished with a 66 on the 6,197-yard Mines Resort and Golf Club course.

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With the temperature hitting 93 degrees and high humidity, Woods appeared frustrated at times as he narrowly missed putts for birdies - including one from 10 feet on the 18th as storm clouds swirled overhead - on top of the two short putts he missed for par. But he didn't blame the conditions.

``What is frustrating is turning at even par and I'm eight back,'' he said. ``I feel like I just got run over there. Wind is picking up a bit and it's going to get more difficult.

``Three or four under par was my number on the back nine - if I could shoot that, I'm still right in the ballgame. I happened to get one more, which was a bonus.''

Woods knew he could have shot a score that would have put him higher than tied for seventh, but he was generally happy with his game.

``I really started hitting the ball quite well at the end of the front nine. I happened to miss two short putts,'' he said. ``Realistically it could have been seven or eight (under). But even at the turn, and still post five (under), it was a nice little comeback.

``It's going to take 20-plus this week to win the tournament, so I've got to be aggressive and we've got to go get it.''

Matteson had birdies on Nos. 2, 3, 6 and 11 and finished with four straight, closing his round by holing his third shot from the greenside bunker on the par-4 18th.

``The pin is really tricky on 18. I knew I'd be doing good if I could leave myself seven or eight feet for par, and it bounced and slam-dunked in the hole,'' Matteson said. ``That's the first time all year the ball has managed to hit the pin and stay in the hole.''

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Matteson placed second at the John Deere Classic in July and had three top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour in 2012 but is yet to win a title. The co-sanctioned $6.1 million CIMB Classic doesn't count for points on the tour this year, but will be added to the schedule in 2013, making it a good title to win.

Defending CIMB champion Bo Van Pelt, 1 under after an opening 70, was coming off a win last week at the Perth International, which was jointly sanctioned by the European and Australasian tours. Jason Dufner, who was second to Van Pelt last week, was 3 under and in a share of 16th.

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