Hoffman leads, but Tiger left smiling again

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Tiger Woods has shot a 3-under 69 on the first day of the Hero World Challenge in Nassau, his first competitive outing after a nine-month injury break.

The eagle at the par-5 No. 9 hole got Woods to 8 under for the tournament and moved him one shot ahead of Charley Hoffman and Tommy Fleetwood at the time.

The tournament scoreboard is here.

"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.

"I hadn't played in a while but it was fun to play with a scorecard in hand again".

One would have to think those numbers were even higher on Friday as word went around of the way Woods was playing.

"I struggled all day with speed on the greens". After a booming drive of 295 yards down the fairway at the par five ninth he was left with 271 yards to the green. "I just played solid". I blew a lot of them past the hole.

That the world no. 18 was up at 4 am to feed young son Frankie seemed to have no effect on his fluent play and he said he felt good with his scores. A similar three-putt followed at the par five 15th, leading to a disappointing par before a final dropped shot of the day at the 18th - after driving right into the scrubland - will leave somewhat of a sour taste. 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. And who would bet against him?