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Woods back with a bang at Firestone

Back from a three month layoff and ready to show the critics his career wasn’t over yet, Tiger Woods hit an impressive two-under-par opening round of 68 in the first round of the WGC Invitational in Akron, Ohio.

Parring the first nine holes, the world number 28 then went on to make consecutive birdies at the 10th and 11th holes. A greenside bunker on the 14th and a rough on No.16 threatened temporarily to derail the 35-year-old but a 269-yard 3-wood out of the primary rough brought him another birdie.

He finished the day 6 strokes off the lead.

“I felt nerves on the first tee, just like I did after that long lay-off over the winter [of 2009-10] and the surgeries I've had in the past. But that first shot was awesome. I felt right then that I was back,'' Woods said.

The sub-plot featuring Woods’ former caddie Steve Williams who was sacked acrimoniously last month took a new delicious twist as the bagman’s new employer Australian Adam Scott, the wielder of an unorthodox elongated putter, carded a superb 62 to lead after the first round.

“He just seems to have a lot of good rounds in him around this place, that’s for sure,” Scott said of Williams. “He didn’t think it was a big deal to shoot 62. It was normal.”

Despite the fine performance by Scott, Woods, as ever, was the talk of the course on his return, and his appearance on the course with partner at the tee Darren Clarke was met by cheers from the crowd.

“I expect myself to be more prepared going into tomorrow,” Woods said. “I’ve got the competitive feel now. I know what it feels like to get into the flow of the round, the rhythm of playing and walking, and just the flow of playing tournament golf, which is way different than zipping around in shorts and a cart.”

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