Tiger Woods roared back to form with a sparkling first round at the Wyndham Championship on Thursday.
The former world number one needs to win this week to reach the end-of-season FedExCup Play-offs and a six-under-par 64 was ideal.
It put him in the mix near the top of the leaderboard and came on the back of the 39-year-old slumping to a career low last weekend when he missed the cut at the US PGA Championship.
Woods has missed the cut at the last three majors, and has had to bat away talk that he is finished as a contender for big titles.
Starting on the back nine, in his first visit to the tournament, he followed an opening chip-in birdie with a dropped shot at the 11th. But from there 14-time major winner Woods rolled back the years, making gains at the 13th, 15th, 18th, first, fourth and fifth holes to surge into contention.
Asked whether his biggest strength over the round was his putting or iron play, Woods said: “They were both solid today.
“They were solid. It was nice.
“I was telling Joey (caddie Joe LaCava) it’s finally nice to get something out of a round, a round that could have been two to four under par, it’s finally six.”
Woods was given warm backing at the tournament, staged at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina.
“It was electric, especially early,” he told PGA Tour Live. “The people have been fantastic, so nice and so supportive.
”His fellow Americans William McGirt, Erik Compton and Tom Hoge shared the lead on eight under par after signing for 62, with Jim Herman, Derek Ernst and Morgan Hoffman all seven under.
Compton, like Woods, began his round on the back nine and reached the turn in a steady one under par.But he played a stellar second nine in seven-under 28, making birdie at the ninth to join McGirt in a share of first place.
Woods is in a share of seventh position alongside Germany’s Martin Kaymer, Swede Carl Pettersson and Davis Love III. However, anything substantially under par was a positive result for Woods, given he has not had a top-10 finish this season, earning just over £200,000.
That is a far cry from the five titles he achieved and £5.5million he earned in the 2013 season, since when his slump has been alarming.