Woods returns big in Japan with nine birdies

The American leads the Zozo Championship with his compatriot Gary Woodland after the first day with 64 strokes, six under par, despite committing three starting bogeys.

Tiger Woods returned to the competition in Japan achieving his best score in more than a year to become leader with a card of 64 strokes, 6 under par, on the first day of the Zozo Championship.

Two months after undergoing an arthroscopy and an operation on his knee, the winner of 15 majors made an ugly start with a knockout with a five wood in a pond at the Narashino Country Club.

Three consecutive bogeys predicted a long day for Woods, but in the next 15 holes he made no mistake, getting nine birdies in his first appearance in Tokyo.

Followed by a crowd of more than 17,000 people who only had eyes for one player, Woods did not disappoint them with a performance that he remembered as he marched on the tours with that invincible aura.

"It has been a crazy day," he said after sharing leadership with fellow countryman Gary Woodland with a blow of advantage over local favorite Hideki Matsuyama. "I committed three bad punches and I thought that things would not go very well. I certainly did not expect to finish six strokes under par when I started. It was a very ugly start. I went into heat and got a lot of putts."

Woods also had some fortune in the final hole, where he hit his drive against the frustrated turf after hitting the ball to the right. But with a shy smile after the ball hit a tree and returned to the course. Tiger took full advantage of this fact and from 194 yards hit with an iron eight so that the ball landed at the foot of the hole and add a new birdie.

Photos from as.com
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