Tiger Woods dazzled in his a lot-anticipated return from damage on Thursday on the Hero World Problem within the Bahamas the place the previous world primary flashed a fist pump and didn’t appear bothered by his troublesome again.
Woods, competing for the primary time after an almost 10-month layoff throughout which he had spinal fusion surgical procedure, appeared ache-free on the Albany course on the island of New Windfall the place he combined 5 birdies with two bogeys for a 3-beneath-par sixty nine.
That left him in a 4-method share of eighth place and three photographs behind Britain’s Tommy Fleetwood after the primary spherical of the elite 18-man occasion that includes eight of the world’s prime 10.
“I didn’t know what I might do,” Woods informed Golf Channel. “I’ve been enjoying plenty of holes at residence, nevertheless it’s just a little totally different when you need to tee it up in a event.”
Woods, who two months in the past stated he was solely hitting 60-yard photographs, drove principally nicely off the tee, made some strong putts and spectacular par saves however at occasions additionally let loose expletives and slammed his membership in frustration.
Driving excessive after a pair of consecutive birdies, Woods was two photographs off the lead on the par-5 fifteenth gap when his tee shot sailed far proper. He took a drop and went on to 2-putt for his second bogey of the day.
From there he went on to shut out with a trio of pars to cap a spherical that confirmed, maybe, that the 14-occasions main champion nonetheless has lots left.
After narrowly lacking birdie putts on his opening two holes Woods hit his strategy shot on the par-5 third to about forty ft and went on to faucet in for birdie.
On the subsequent gap, Woods caught his chip heavy and was left with a 15-footer from simply off the inexperienced from the place he coolly rolled his ball into the center of the cup for par earlier than pumping his proper fist to the delight of the cheering gallery.
Woods, who turns forty two on Dec. 30, delivered a extra subdued fist pump on the par-three eighth the place he rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt after his tee shot settled on the sting of the inexperienced.
Enjoying alongside pal and FedExCup champion Justin Thomas, Woods, wearing black with a white hat, confirmed his first little bit of frustration on the par-5 ninth when, after failing to succeed in the inexperienced in two, he made a multitude of a chip.
Regardless of being about 30 ft from the cup after two photographs Woods settled for his first bogey of the day to succeed in the flip in a single-beneath 35.
Woods responded properly with a birdie from 15 ft on the subsequent gap.
After his tee shot on the par-three twelfth sailed extensive proper and into tough, Woods promptly slammed his membership to the bottom however shortly calmed down and delivered maybe his greatest chip of the day to inside 4 ft for a strong up and down.
He carried that momentum to the subsequent gap the place he rolled in his fourth birdie of the day, this time from 22 ft.
Woods laid up off the tee on the par-4 14th, then delivered a shocking wedge shot from 88 yards that settled about two ft from the cup, resulting in his second consecutive birdie.
It appeared that Woods was about to make a cost to the highest of the leaderboard at this level till his errant tee shot at 15 took the wind out of his sails.
“I felt rusty beginning after a month and half (off) so I can’t think about what it felt like for him,” stated Thomas, who additionally carded a sixty nine.
“He performed properly. I actually felt like he was going to play nicely simply from once we performed after which apply round right here.”
A seventy nine-occasions winner on the PGA Tour who was world primary for a report 683 weeks, Woods misplaced type in recent times as a result of accidents and his rating has plummeted to 1,199th.
This marks the second consecutive season that Woods has made his return to motion on the event after a prolonged absence.
He completed fifteenth within the 17-man subject 12 months in the past after a 15-month layoff.
Woods then missed the minimize at Torrey Pines in January and withdrew from the Dubai Desert Basic the next week due to a again spasm.
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