Woods impresses on return as Fleetwood edges clear

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Tiger Woods

Bahamas, December 1: Tiger Woods sits three shots off the lead at the end of the opening round of the Hero World Challenge after making an impressive return to the PGA Tour.

The 41-year-old was back in action for the first time in 301 days on Thursday and showed glimpses of promise as he carded a three under 69.

Tommy Fleetwood leads the way in the Bahamas after a superb round, but all the focus surrounded Woods and his latest comeback.

After plenty of talk in the days building up to the event in Albany, Woods teed off with no signs of the back problems that have hampered his life over the past two years – the former world number one having four surgeries in that time.

His opening salvo enjoyed a bit of good luck as it bounced away from the sand and onto the fairway, and he very nearly started with a birdie – only for his putt to burn the edge.

He did pick up a shot at the third, and - after a trademark fist pump at the fourth - another birdie followed at the eighth as he appeared well set.

A bogey at the ninth spoiled his scorecard, leaving Woods three shots back from Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth.

After the turn, some of the old Tiger magic returned as he picked up three birdies in five holes, his putter looking in fine form as he holed a 19-footer on the par-four 13th.

Woods' approach play was also looking neat and tidy, although he dropped a shot at the 15th to slip back to three under.

A superb recovery from the sand ensured another shot did not disappear at the next, and he kept his nerve to sink a good putt at the last to sign for a 69.

While all the attention was on Woods, Fleetwood was showing more of the form that saw him win the European Tour Order of Merit.

The Englishman carded a blemish-free 66 to lead Fowler and Matt Kuchar by one shot, while Justin Rose – the man Fleetwood beat to the title in Dubai – is part of a four-man group with Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell and Johnson on -4.

Source: OPTA

Story first published: Friday, December 1, 2017, 3:30 [IST]
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