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Woods struggles to five-over 77 in frist comeback round

Woods struggles to five-over 77 in frist comeback round
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Tiger Woods made a woeful start to his latest injury comeback, firing a five-over par 77 to stand last after round one of the 18-player Hero World Challenge. The former world number one ended a four-month competitive layoff with four bogeys, one birdie and a double bogey at Isleworth, a 7,354-yard layout where Woods once fired a 59 in a practice round with Mark O’Meara.

Woods, who had not played in an event since the PGA Championship in August while recovering from a back injury, was five-over after eight holes and played the inward nine at par but showed he still has plenty of work remaining to recapture the form that brought him 14 major titles, four shy of Jack Nicklaus’ all-time record.

“It was just one of those days where nothing goes your way. I feel like I didn’t hit it that poorly,” Woods said. The golfer, who turns 39 on December 30, has not won a major title since the 2008 US Open. He must become the first player to win four majors beyond his 39th birthday to match Nicklaus. Woods stood 11 strokes behind 21-year-old leader Jordan Spieth, who opened with a 66 after winning the Australian Open last week. He sank a 20-foot par putt at 18 to stay one in front of fellow Americans Rickie Fowler, Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson.

“It would have been tough to finish with bogey. It was nice to close that one out,” said Spieth, who won a college event at Isleworth. While Woods struck the ball with speed and power and showed no sign of the back pain that sidelined him most of the year, he was erratic off the tee at the start, sending his first three drives well left.

“I have zero pain. Haven’t said that in a long time. It’s nice to be able to launch it again,” Woods said.
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