Woods makes solid start at Bridgestone

Updated: 05 August 2011 09:48 IST

Tiger Woods returned to competition after an injury layoff of nearly three months with a two-under 68 at the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational on Thursday.

Woods makes solid start at Bridgestone

Ohio:

Tiger Woods returned to competition after an injury layoff of nearly three months with a two-under 68 at the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational on Thursday.

Woods, who was sidelined by a strained left knee and achilles tendon injury, looked fit as he toured a Firestone course where he has won seven titles.

The former world number one had three birdies and played in front of massive galleries throughout the day.

"This was fun, to be able to hit the ball with that much flush feeling through the golf ball and speed I had. It was pretty nice," said Woods, who was six shots off the lead held by Australian Adam Scott.

The 14-time major champion hadn't played since May 12, when he withdrew from the Players Championship after nine holes after aggravating the left leg injuries he suffered at the Masters in April.

"You know, I felt nerves out there on that first tee just like I did when I had come back off the long layoffs after the winter, or the surgeries I've had over the years, 2002 into 2003, and then '08 and '09," Woods said.

"That first tee shot I was pretty nervous. It felt awesome."

Although he had only tested his leg in practice, Woods said he didn't baby it.

"I went out there and just let it go, let it rip and see what happens," Woods said.

Much of what happened was good - encouraging for a player who even before the injuries at the Masters was wrestling with swing changes and searching for his first win since the 2009 Australian Masters.

Woods said his 18-foot putt to save par at the third was key. He made a 20-footer to save par at the ninth before back-to-back birdies at 10 and 11.

At the 10th, he spun an approach to four feet and holed that.

After his only bogey of the day at 14, he birdied 16 from the right rough.

"I was hitting proper shots out there, and the distances I was hitting the golf ball - I hadn't hit the ball like this," Woods said.

Even his difficulty controlling his distance was a good sign, Woods said.

"I'm hitting it just so much more flush, and I'm just not used to that," he said, adding that his swing before was "more of a wipey swing ... so I wasn't getting a full transfer of energy.

"Now I'm swinging easier," Woods said. "I'm not even hitting it hard yet, and that's what's fun. I'm hitting it farther without any more effort."

Topics : Golf Rory McIlroy Louis Oosthuizen Arjun Atwal Ian Poulter Hunter Mahan Luke Donald Tiger Woods
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