Tiger Woods shoots 69, flashes some old form in Hero World Challenge

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"This is very different because past year I was still struggling with a little bit of pain and I was able to hit some good shots, able to play, but in looking back on it now, I look on it as playing in slow mo", Woods said. "I hadn't played in a while, after some of the difficulties I had been through".

This is an essentially meaningless event, an end-of-season dollar fest in which 18 multi-millionaire pals get to play for some much needed Christmas money in a £2.6m purse.

Woods hit several impressive drives and approach shots and made a few lengthy putts but also had the struggles that might be expected: two chunked chip shots, one wild drive that led to a penalty stroke and a few missed opportunities on the greens.

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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.

The expletive? Well, that slip of the tongue came on the Par 5 ninth where he suffered his first bogey.

Although eight of the world's top-10 ranked players made the journey to the Bahamas, all eyes were on the Woods - ranked 1,199th in the latest world rankings - as his comeback from injury, following spinal fusion surgery back in April, indicated that this latest coming could prove to be the real deal. "To go out there and score like I did, that was nice", he told Golf Channel. If there was any irritation, it was that he was over par on the Par 5s in his round.

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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. Woods pulled within two with a bounceback birdie on No. 10.

"I've been playing a lot of holes at home but it's different when you are in a tournament". Let us all watch this week and hope he takes a step forward.

"I'm looking forward to competing again".

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