Tiger Woods makes another strong start at Bay Hill

Tiger Woods hits 4-under

DeChambeau fires 66 to tie Stenson atop Palmer leaderboard

Tiger Woods is back and so are the galleries as the 14-times major victor sent a jolt of excitement through the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Thursday, carding a four-under 68 that had the crowd around Bay Hill Golf Club buzzing.

On days like this, when Woods birdied every par-5 and drained an uphill, downhill, curling 71-foot putt for birdie on his third-to-last hole, it's tempting to pronounce that he is almost back to being the same as he ever was.

"Very eager", Woods said, "I feel like I'm physically able to do it again and it's going to be a lot of fun". One Las Vegas bookmaker today placed Woods as a favourite to win next month's US Masters at Augusta.

Picking up where he left he left off on Sunday with a second place finish at the Valspar Championship, Woods's play in Thursday opening round continued to indicate his comeback is trending upwards.

The Bay Hill course is a roller-coaster ride for golfers, offering plenty of potential spills and thrills, as Justin Rose showed by completing his first six holes in four-over and his next 12 in seven-under.

More to come on Woods' first round at Bay Hill momentarily.

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Woods did not lead at the time he finished, but he was one back of Jimmy Walker, who shot a 5-under 67.

Woods is seeking a record ninth victory at Bay Hill in just his fifth PGA Tour event since undergoing spinal fusion surgery in April 2017, his fourth back operation in the space of three years.

He had started the day by posting his first bogey-free nine-hole performance of the young season.

But as we've seen so many times over the years with Tiger, the bounce was strong. "Just keep making incremental improvements and I think I've done that".

However, the 14-time major champion never gave up on his dream to return to professional golf, and it seems that the old Tiger, the one golf fans know and love, (whisper it) might just back in business.

In November, Goydos was thinking of Reed, 27, when he said he hoped that the younger players would get a chance to square off against Woods at his competitive best.

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