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Tiger Woods shoots 69 at Genesis Invitational, trails by 5 shots

The distance from the 18th green to the Riviera Country Club clubhouse is quite steep.

Yet, the cheering throng at the grass auditorium surrounding the hole seemed to distract Tiger Woods from any pain in his right ankle.

With three birdies on the final three holes, Woods capped his first round of competitive golf in seven months by shooting a 2-under 69 at the Genesis Invitational.

Max Homa and Keith Mitchell, the joint leaders, are 5 strokes ahead of Woods.

Woods' happiness on the 18th was not simply the result of seven months of waiting and recovery, but also a fitting conclusion to a round that was everything but simple.

On Tuesday, Woods told reporters that making shots wasn't a problem. And he went out and demonstrated that on Thursday.

On several holes, Woods outdrove both Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas, his playing partners, by driving the ball farther off the tee.

Woods positioned himself to the left of the tee box and struck a nine iron that faded to the right and landed pin high, five feet from the cup.

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