Woods faltered a little on the back nine after an outward nine of 31 had him contending for the lead but there is little doubting his readiness for more tournament golf in early 2018 and that golf is ready for him.
Unfortunately, he bogeyed the next hole and then made par for the rest of the back nine until he bogeyed the 18th which put took a bit of gloss off his mostly, excellent round.More news: Federal Bureau of Investigation joins search for missing 3-year-old in North Carolina
The 14-time major victor subsequently underwent spinal fusion surgery in April, his fourth back operation in the space of three years, and began the week a 40/1 outsider in the 18-man field.
But the bare figures did not tell the full story of a round which featured four birdies, a spectacular eagle and signs that Woods has quickly found a solution to the chipping woes which resurfaced on Thursday.More news: Everton set to hire Allardyce as manager after prolonged search
"I think everyone was hoping for the best, but yes, this is better than what we thought would happen", said Joe LaCava, Woods' caddie. I've learned a lot of things since my surgeon said go ahead and start swinging full. He made a birdie from 4 feet on the first, from 8 feet on the third, from 4 feet on the fourth.
"I had a hard time all day with the speed on the greens". He stayed there after a birdie on the 11th but a 3-putt bogey on the 12th knocked him off that perch. Rose had five birdies against one bogey. A few more pars followed as Woods was all business - nearly expressionless and clearly enjoying his return after 10 months - before providing a peek into his famous fist-pump on the par-3 eighth. "They were dry, they were rolling out and I air-mailed a few of them well past the hole but I really did struggle with my speed". Patrick Reed and Kevin Chappell are T-10 at 6 under.More news: Medical experts: Flu season may be a bad one
"I didn't know what to expect, because I hadn't played".