Tiger Woods returns to PGA Tour with a 74

Tiger Woods found himself in unfamiliar surrounds sinking at one stage to last place in ending a three-month absence following back surgery.

Woods eventually birdied three of his closing six holes in a three over par 74 on the opening day of the $US 6.5m Quicken Loans National at the Congressional club in suburban Maryland.

Tiger Woods Tiger Woods (Credit: Anthony Powter)

It was Woods’ first round since ending up in an ambulance with a final day score of 78 to share 25th place in last March’s WGC – Cadillac Championship.

A big crowd turned on the Congressional course, including some wearing ‘He’s Back’ t-shirts, while the PGA Tour website was no doubt delighted in leading their coverage with ‘Live Tiger Woods Updates’ and virtually overlooking the efforts of Aussie Greg Chalmers, who held the clubhouse lead with a five under par 66.

Woods’ first competitive shot in three months found a greenside bunker from where he took three shots to get up-and-down for bogey.

The current world number five then dropped a shot at the next and while he holed a 10-foot birdie at the 14th or the fifth hole of his round, Woods was back on the bogey train with dropped shots at his sixth, eighth and ninth holes to make the turn in four over par.

Woods then slumped to six over par with bogeys at his 11th and 12th holes where he uncharacteristically three-putted from less than six feet.

The 14-time Major winner birdied his 13th and there were wild scenes when Woods drilled his 173-yard tee shot at the par three seventh hole or the 16th of his round to just four feet for a third birdie and get back to four over par.

And Woods, who won the event in 2009 and 2012, saved more face getting back to three over par with a third birdie in five holes at his 17th before ending with a three over tally.

He said: “My score is not really indicative of how I played as I played better than that.”