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Tiger Woods briefly takes lead, in contention at Hero World Challenge

02 December 2017

His began with a par and after coming close on the opening two holes, picked up his first birdie of the day on the par-five third.

A wayward drive on the 18th led to a closing bogey and a disappointed Woods told the Golf Channel: "After that 31 on the front nine I could have gotten a few more on that back nine".

Those odds looked somewhat generous after the first round and appeared faintly ridiculous after Woods birdied three of his first four holes on day two and eagled the ninth in spectacular fashion to claim the outright lead.

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There were signs of vintage Tiger during his first round of competitive golf in 301 days after recovering from a fourth back surgery.

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. "It was great to be part of a scorecard again and I am delighted with how it went after all the problems I have had".

"I think everyone was hoping for the best, but this is definitely better than we thought", said his caddie, Joe LaCava. "That's going to take time, a lot more practice, a lot more training and more tournaments". 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 blew a lot of them past the hole. He stayed there after a birdie on the 11th but a 3-putt bogey on the 12th knocked him off that perch.

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Said Fleetwood on his round, "I played really well, got off to a nice start". Those are the internal struggles I haven't had for a while.

"I hadn't played in a while after some of the difficulties I've been through". Patrick Reed and Kevin Chappell are T-10 at 6 under.

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Tiger Woods briefly takes lead, in contention at Hero World Challenge