Mixed start for Woods at Torrey Pines

There were some signs of encouragement, but Tiger Woods largely struggled for rhythm as he began his PGA Tour return at Torrey Pines.

Tiger Woods in action at Torrey Pines   -  Getty Images

Tiger Woods made a mixed start to his PGA Tour return at the Farmers Insurance Open on Thursday.

The 14-time major champion underwent a fourth serious back surgery last year, and was absent for 10 months before playing December's Hero World Challenge – where he placed ninth in the 18-strong field at the unofficial PGA Tour event.

Woods arrived on the first tee at Torrey Pines – a venue where he has won eight times – to a typically rousing reception, and two bogeys and a birdie left the 42-year-old one over par at the turn, six shots off the lead.

While there were signs of encouragement from Woods, particularly with a couple of neat shots around the green, his work off the tee and approach shots lacked rhythm. 

The American, playing the slightly trickier south course, made an inauspicious start with a wayward tee shot to the left, and he failed to save par with a 15-foot putt.

More troubled followed at the fifth when Woods struggled to make the green, and another medium-ranger for par with the flat stick failed to sink.

However, Woods hit back immediately at the next hole as a fine approach to the green set up an eagle opportunity and, although that missed, he recorded a first birdie of 2018.

A fine save out of the bunker followed at the seventh, while a sublime wedge shot at the eighth saw him scramble for another par having gone long and left off the tee.

Woods again went left when using a three-wood to reach the green at the par-five ninth, his follow up out of the bunker left a 20-footer for birdie but he could only make par.