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Sunday, 09 December, 2018

Fit-again Tiger makes a promising return

Fowler can kick on in the Bahamas

Tiger Woods shot 69 on day one at Albany
1 of 1

Round two 
Sky Sports Golf, 5.30pm Friday

Tiger Woods made a positive return to competitive golf on day one of the Hero World Challenge, carding a three-under-par round of 69 at Albany, but consistent Englishman Tommy Fleetwood leads the way heading into the second round in the Bahamas.

Woods, who had not played since withdrawing from the Dubai Desert Classic in February, made five birdies to lie just three off the lead and he is 30-1 from 40-1 to take the title.

Despite exhibiting signs of rust, there was plenty for Woods fans to smile about on his comeback. He appears to be swinging without pain and the putter was working well for the 14-time Major champion, who demonstrated a trademark fist pump after holing out from off the green at the par-four fourth.

The 41-year-old struggled with chipping on his return but he still looked capable of better after failing to take advantage of Albany's five par-five holes.

Bookmakers reacted by cutting Woods to as low as 28-1 to reclaim the Masters title in April but his fitness going into the weekend is the primary threat to his outright chances this week as he bids to make up ground on Fleetwood.

The Southport man is one shot ahead of Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar (-5) while Kevin Chappell joined big names Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth at four under. The Albany leaderboard is condensed with only three players at even-par or worse.

Twoball punters are pointed towards Fowler when he tees off alongside Fleetwood in the final match of the day at 5.38pm. The Californian was red-hot in the early stages with the putter on Thursday and he boasts rock-solid Albany form figures of 6-3-3.

Fleetwood has made a fine start on his Hero debut and his consistency has to be admired but he has spent the last few weeks chasing Race to Dubai glory on the European Tour and that may catch up with the 26-year-old at some stage.

Expect Fowler to make a bold bid to supplant him at the top of the leaderboard.

R Fowler to win twoball
2pts 17-20 Coral, Ladbrokes

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Bookmakers reacted by cutting Woods to as low as 28-1 to reclaim the Masters title
E.W. Terms
Sky bet