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

Tiger Woods comeback He's back and showing flashes of his old self

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.

Woods played near-flawless golf on the front-nine at Albany Golf Club.

If the 41-year-old had stirred the memory bank with his first-round 69, then with three birdies in his first four holes, he switched on the mixer and made all the high-points of his career suddenly pour over back into the consciousness.

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

Against long odds, facing some of the best players in the world and coming just seven months after spinal fusion surgery to his lower back, the former world No. 1 and victor of 14 majors and 79 PGA Tour titles put himself in position Friday to actually win for the first time since 2013. Woods had pulled within two with a bounceback birdie on hole 10.

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

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Putting was a problem for Woods as he was surprised by the quickness of the surface.

"It felt great", said Woods. Still, there's a lot more to learn.

From there, he pitched to approximately 15 feet and burned the left edge with his birdie putt.

"I proved that the surgery was successful", he said, referring to the spinal fusion that he had in April, which knocked him out of commission for the rest of the season. "They were dry, they were rolling out and I air-mailed a few of them well past the hole but I really did struggle with my speed". While he had his chances, he didn't make another birdie and finished with a bogey after a poor drive.

"I hadn't played in a while after some of the difficulties I've been through". I blew majority past the hole. "I just played solid".

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