Woods endured a torrid time on the course last month, recording the worst score of his professional career with an 85 at The Memorial before also failing to break 80 for the third time this year as he missed the cut by a distance at the US Open.
The 14-time major champion has slumped to 220th in the world rankings, but he looked more like the Woods of old at The Old White TPC in a four-under 66 – his first sub-70 score since the Masters – which featured seven birdies, one bogey and one double-bogey.
Starting on the 10th, Woods carded birdies on the 12th, 15th and 16th before dropping his first shot of the day on the 17th to reach the turn in 34.
After a birdie on the second, Woods looked to have undone much of his good work??with a double bogey on the sixth, where he thinned a bunker escape over the green and then left his next pitch short before doing well to get up and down for a six.
But Woods responded superbly to finish his round with three straight??birdies that left the 39-year-old in a good position to avoid missing the cut in??consecutive PGA Tour events for the first time in his illustrious career, although he is??four shots behind early clubhouse leader Scott Langley who carded a flawless 62.
Another American, Jonathan Byrd, was second on seven under after a 63 while??England’s Brian Davis was a further shot back in a tie for third with Japan’s??Ryo Ishikawa.