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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Tiger Woods finishes first round back with three straight birdies in California

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Tiger Woods marked his return to competitive action with a closing trio of birdies as he carded 69 during the first round of the Genesis Invitational.

The tournament host was five strokes back from co-leaders Max Homa and Keith Mitchell at Riviera Country Club, after not having played an event without the use of a cart since last summer’s Open Championship, when he missed the cut at St Andrews.

The 47-year-old’s legs held up on a day where he mixed five birdies with three bogeys on a mild California afternoon.

“I was able to fight back and get it going,” Woods said after play. “It was a nice finish.”

Fans at Riviera got to see Woods play alongside close friends Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy, with the trio all birdying the 18th.

McIlroy continued his mission to replace Scottie Scheffler at the head of the rankings.

The 33-year-old shot an opening four-under 67 to be three strokes back, while Scheffler could only manage 70.

Victory for McIlroy would see him overhaul the American regardless of the latter’s result, while outright third place would be good enough for the Northern Irishman unless Scheffler finishes in the top 25 or Jon Rahm wins or is outright second.

Rahm was third with a 65, one stroke behind the co-leaders, heading into the second round.

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