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There were just as many positive and negative takeaways from Tiger Woods’ return to non-major PGA Tour action on Thursday.

Until he reached the final three holes.

The 82-time winner slowly but surely played his way around Riviera Country Club near Los Angeles until three straight birdies on the last three holes propelled him to a 2-under 69 in the opening round of the 2023 Genesis Invitational. Woods, 47, walked off the course T-27 where he beat the likes of Scottie Scheffler, Justin Rose, Matt Fitzpatrick and Jordan Spieth.

“It was nice that I had this unbelievable pairing, two great guys, two great friends,” said Woods of group members Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas. “The people were obviously very supportive, they were just cheering all of us on, which is great. Just made this whole — this tournament better. I happened to actually hit some good shots finally and made a couple putts. Even though I had a little mishap at 10, I was able to fight back and get it going. It was a nice finish.”

His accuracy off the tee left something to be desired, hitting just six of 14 fairways. That said, when he caught his driver cleanly, the ball went far. Very far. Five drives were 320 yards or longer, with his longest of the day reaching 338 yards.

He left a few chips short, but his splash shots out of the bunker were textbook. He struggled to make any putts from distance, with his first make from outside 10 feet coming on the par-5 17th, where he canned a 24-footer to get back under par for his round after a birdie on the par-3 16th. Woods then closed his round out the only way he knew how, in style with a third consecutive birdie.

“It was a lot louder than I had — I haven’t played in a tournament in a long time so I haven’t played any tournaments,” said Woods of his loud crowd. “I was trying to calm my — I didn’t really look up as much. I probably should have, but I didn’t. I was trying to calm myself down all day, trying to figure out what the hell I’m doing out here because I haven’t played.

“I was so focused on what I was trying to do, talking to (caddie Joe LaCava), trying to figure it all out,” he continued. “No, I probably should have appreciated the fans more than I did, but there was so much going on in my head trying to get the ball in the correct spots and the correct feels just because I haven’t done this in a while.”

Still recovering from a single-car accident that nearly cost him his leg, Woods walked with ease for most of the round but began to labor a bit down the stretch. The true test of his fitness and form will come Friday morning, where Woods will be back on the course – starting on the back nine – alongside McIlroy and Thomas at 10:24 a.m. ET.

“Well, there’s a lot of ice going on here. As soon as I get back to the hotel, it’s just icing and treatment and icing and treatment, just hit repeat throughout the whole night,” said Woods of the process. “Get ready, warmed up tomorrow, get this big sweat going on, big lift in the morning and stay warm and get off to a good start on 10.”