Woods opens with 69 at Hero World Challenge

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Nassau (Bahamas), Dec 1 (IANS) Fourteen-time major victor Tiger Woods shot a three-under-par 69 as he returned at the Hero World Challenge following nine months out injured.

He shot five birdies and two bogeys to trail England's Tommy Fleetwood by three shots in the Bahamas.

The solid effort, which included an eagle, four birdies and two bogeys, left the former world number one at seven-under 137 in his first tournament in almost 10 months following spinal fusion surgery.

"I thought it was great", said Woods, who matched the round of his playing partner in PGA Tour's Player of the Year Justin Thomas.

"I didn't know what I could do", Woods said. "It's going to take time, a lot more practice, a lot more training and more tournaments". "To go out and score like I did was nice".

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"It was fun to get out there and actually be part of a scorecard again".

Even for Woods - the redshirted one who, with is unprecedented showreel, taught golf to ignore every barrier that had ever been there before - this seemed surreal.

He bounced back superbly from that disappointing end to the front nine, though, with birdies on the 10th, 13th and 14th, before a wild tee shot on the next led to that penalty drop and a second bogey of the day.

"The only thing I struggled with was the speed of the greens".

Fleetwood is making his first start in the 18-man tournament and will look to cap his breakthrough season with another victory before getting married on Tuesday.

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