Stenson leads as Woods shines at Bay Hill

Tiger Woods is back and will now be looking forward to the Masters in less than a month

One week after Stenson returned from his winter break and spent two days with Tiger Woods and his raucous crowds, he made birdie on half of the holes at Bay Hill for an 8-under 64, his lowest round ever on the course the King built.

Stenson said he was not surprised to see Woods at the top of the odds, despite the 42-year-old playing just the fifth event in his comeback from spinal fusion surgery last year. At the end of his first 18 holes, Tiger walked off the course in sole possession of first place with a 4-under score.

He started out brilliantly with three birdies on the back nine of the course (Woods' front nine of the day as he started his round on the 10th tee).

"I thought I played well today". "My body doesn't really want to do this because it's cold, but just push through it and then as soon as I get to that tee the competitive juices start flying".

On the eve of the Bay Hill tournament Woods was named as United States of America captain for the next Presidents Cup, a role usually reserved for veterans at the end of their career.

"Golf is amusing game, my putter wasn't working at all last week, I actually hit the ball alright through the two rounds I played but just couldn't get a birdie and had to go do some work on my putting and got that going".

The World No. 6 was able to get in a full slate of preparation this week for the API, which he has played three times before with a best finish of T-6, in 2016.

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Woods finished tied for second at the Valspar Championship last weekend, and he came up just short of forcing a playoff after he buried an incredible putt on the 17th hole.

Woods had a chance to claim the outright lead at 14, but missed a 10-foot birdie putt.

He closed with a 12-foot putt to save par from the bunker.

"I enjoy just playing again, playing feels good".

"There was no point wasting a few (birdies) when I was heading home (last week)", said Stenson, whose nine birdies are a career best.

Woods not only feels supremely confident on the track, but cherishes the time spent with Palmer, who traditionally greeted the tournament victor on the last green in the city Woods formerly called home.

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