Woods looks like his old self — for part of 1st round

With 73, he slips to 17th out of 18

Baltimore Sun - - COLLEGE BASKETBALL - By Doug Ferguson

NASSAU, BA­HAMAS — Not only did Tiger Woods re­turn to golf Thurs­day, he re­turned to be­ing Tiger. Just not for long. Hardly look­ing like a player who­had not com­peted in 466 days, Woods ran off three straight birdies with a va­ri­ety of shots and was tied for the lead in the Hero World Chal­lenge as he ap­proached the turn.

Three shots into the bushes, one shot into the wa­ter and a few fits of anger sent him to­ward the bot­tom of the pack. A pair of dou­ble bo­geys over the fi­nal three holes ru­ined an oth­er­wise im­pres­sive re­turn, and Woods shot 40 on the back nine at Al­bany Golf Club and had to set­tle for a 1-over 73.

He was in 17th place in the 18-man field. Only Justin Rose had a higher score.

Even so, Woods has rea­son to be en­cour­aged. Af­ter tak­ing off 15 months to re­cover from two back surg­eries, he felt no pain or lim­i­ta­tions. His misses were not big, just costly. And he was play­ing again.

“It could have been some­thing re­ally good,” Woods said. “I got off to a nice, solid start and made a few mis­takes there. I didn’t play the par-5s very well in the mid­dle part of the round and con­se­quently, got it go­ing the wrong way. But all in all, I feel pretty good. I’m look­ing for­ward to an­other three more days.”

He was nine shots be­hind J.B. Holmes, who opened with an 8-un­der 64 and had a one-shot lead over Hideki Mat­suyama, with U.S. Open cham­pion Dustin John­son at 66.

Cu­rios­ity was greater than ex­pec­ta­tions for Woods, who was com­ing off the long­est hia­tus of his golf­ing ca­reer. Hin­dered by back prob­lems since 2013, when he was No. 1 in the world, he fi­nally shut it down af­ter ty­ing for 10th in the Wyn­d­ham Cham­pi­onship on Aug. 23, 2015, and then go­ing through the two back surg­eries.

CHRIS­TIAN PETERSEN/GETTY IM­AGES

Tiger Woods hits his tee shot on the 12th hole. Thurs­day was his first com­pe­ti­tion in 466 days.

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