Published: Fri, December 01, 2017
Sports | By Spencer Underwood

Woods impresses on return as Fleetwood edges clear

Woods impresses on return as Fleetwood edges clear

After his round, Woods spoke with Golf Channel's Todd Lewis and said he felt he played well. "I hadn't played in a while after some of the difficulties I've been through".

Given all he has been through since playing his last tournament 10 months ago and the lack of time spent preparing for this tournament, it was an encouraging first step for the 14-time major champion who was making his first start in 301 days. "It was fun to be part of a scorecard again".

"I did not know what I could do", admitted Woods. I've been playing a lot of holes at home but it's a little different when you've got to tee it up in a tournament. "To go out and score like I did was nice".

"I had a lot of adrenalin going there".

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He outdrove his playing partner, this year's PGA Championship victor Justin Thomas, more often than not, capped an 18-yard putt to save par on No. 9 with a fist pump and finished just three shots out of the lead. I was hitting balls a little bit longer than I normally do, so I had to dial it back a little bit, but those are the internal struggles I just haven't been through as a player in a while.

Woods had a very solid day and managed to finish with a three-under 69, just three strokes off the current clubhouse leader Tommy Fleetwood. This round featured five birdies and even included a signature Tiger fist pump (early in the round when he saved par with a putt from just off the green at the par-4 fourth). Woods answered them beautifully today and it all started off the tee.

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.

Fleetwood, who is making his debut in the event before getting married in the Bahmas on Tuesday, was bogey-free as he took a one-shot lead over American duo Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar.

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