Rickie Fowler fires seven birdies in a row at Hero World Challenge

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It's a similar position to where Woods finished 2016 (No. 652) in the OWGR.

After two strong rounds put the former world number one in contention for his first win since 2013, Woods recorded four of his five bogeys in the first seven holes to slip to 10th at four-under 212, 10 strokes behind leader Charley Hoffman. The California native also tied for the ninth most birdies rolled in out of the field, and hit 65% of his fairways which tied for the seventh best. Two takeaways from this 18-man exhibition in The Bahamas: the 41-year-old, who turns 42 on December 30th, completed four rounds for the first time since here last year - where he finished 15th on 4-under 284 (73-65-70-76) - and, he did so pain-free.

Pic Getty Images
Pic Getty Images

When Tiger Woods tees up next year he will be at an age at which few have dominated, but that will not stop the PGA Tour hype machine and others from promoting his appearance with an implied suggestion Tiger 2.0 will be as good as the previous version which won 14 major championships between 1997 and 2008.

Fowler sprinkled 11 birdies - including seven straight from Nos. It was Woods' first competitive tournament since February and a fourth back surgery - a spinal fusion - in April. Jordan Spieth and Tommy Fleetwood, who is getting married on the course Tuesday, finished tied for third at 12 under. No pain and lots of promising play en-route to a T-9 finish.

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"Overall, I'm very pleased".

But his chipping was mediocre, and he did finish only mid-pack, so let's not expect miracles in 2018 from a man almost 10 years removed from his most recent major championship victory, and four-plus years from any victory. "Nobody was sure how far he'd hit his iron shots, but I think he's done pretty well with that too".

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"I'm excited", Woods said afterward.

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