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BETHESDA, Md. – The round was getting away from Tiger Woods on Thursday at Congressional Country Club as he made his return to competitive golf after a layoff of 109 days.

With seven bogeys in his first 12 holes in the opening round of the Quicken Loans National, Woods looked like he needed more time before he came back to face the best golfers in the world following back surgery March 31.

But then it seemed the rust disappeared and a confident former world No. 1 started to look exactly like that. A birdie from 3 feet, another from 4 feet and yet another from 4 feet righted his sinking ship and turned an otherwise miserable score into one that left him with a chance to make the cut.

With three birdies in his last six holes, Woods fired a 3-over-par 74 and stands eight shots behind pace-setter Ricky Barnes. And just as importantly, Woods said his back felt great following the round.

"The score is not really indicative of how I played," said Woods, who last played March 9 in the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship. "I had four up-and-downs right there on 15 through 18. Had an easy pitch on two, don't get that up-and-down. Had a wedge in my hand on 3 and I jerk it in the bunker. I made so many little mistakes. So I played a lot better than the score indicated, which is good.

" … The back's great. I had no issues at all. No twinges, no nothing. It felt fantastic. That's one of the reasons why I let go on those tee shots. I hit it pretty hard out there."

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