CHIBA, Japan, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Tiger Woods returned to competition in style, taking the clubhouse lead with a spectacular six-under-par 64 in the opening round at the Zozo Championship on Thursday.
Two months after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, the 15-times major champion overcame a poor start, three straight bogeys, bouncing back with nine birdies at Narashino Country Club.
Woods was followed by a huge gallery of Japanese fans getting their first chance to see the 43-year-old play in the Tokyo area, and he did not let them down with a performance that conjured up images of the halcyon days when he strutted the fairways with an aura of invincibility.
The American ended a 10-year major drought when he won the Masters in April, but his season petered out amid a psychological letdown and a worsening left knee.
The Zozo Championship, the first official-money event in Japan, will be his final event before he must select four players to complete his line-up for December’s Presidents Cup in Australia.
There has been much speculation that Woods, captain of the U.S. team that will take on the Internationals, will use one of those picks to choose himself, and his form on Thursday can only strengthen the case. (Reporting by Andrew Both; Editing by Himani Sarkar)