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Golf: Woods makes positive start to comeback at Hero Challenge

(Reuters) - Tiger Woods made a positive start to his first competitive round in nearly 16 months when he parred his opening hole at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas on Thursday.

Woods, who had been sidelined from competition due to a chronic back injury, looked calm and relaxed as stepped up to the par-four first hole on a blustery day at the exclusive Albany course on the island of New Providence.

Greeted by applause from a small gallery, Woods, dressed all in black except for a white glove, narrowly avoided a fairway bunker when he sent his opening drive to the left but then hit a solid approach shot to reach the green in two.

The 14-times major champion then missed a long birdie putt before rolling in a routine three-footer for par and more polite applause.

The Hero World Challenge is hosted by Woods to benefit of his charitable foundation.

The elite 18-man field has attracted some of the world's top golfers including Americans world number three Dustin Johnson and number five Jordan Spieth, fourth-ranked Swede Henrik Stenson and Britain's Olympic champion Justin Rose.

With no midway cut Woods will get four rounds to assess his comeback before deciding on where and when he will return to the PGA Tour.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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