NASSAU, Bahamas — Tiger Woods looked a lot better in his return to golf than he did when he left.

Playing for the first time since his fourth back surgery, Woods returned from a 10-month layoff with a 3-under 69 on a breezy Thursday in the Bahamas and was three shots behind Tommy Fleetwood after the opening round of the Hero World Challenge.

“For me, I thought I did great,” Woods said with a smile.

And in a sign that he’s ready to get back into the mix, he was far from satisfied.

Unlike a year ago, when Woods ended a 15-month hiatus from his ailing back, he didn’t show any fatigue at the end of his round or make any big numbers. His only regret was playing the par 5s at Albany Golf Club in 1-over par with two bogeys that stalled his momentum.

Coming off a 25-foot birdie putt on the par-3 eighth, Woods hit a 3-wood that rolled onto the green and then down a slope about 30 feet from the pin. It took him four shots from there, starting with a chip that didn’t reach the green.

After his best shot of the day – a pitching wedge he hit low from 95 yards that settled a foot behind the hole for birdie on No. 14 – he sent a drive well to the right into the native dunes on No. 15. Woods had to take a penalty drop to get back in play and wound up making bogey.

But the round was solid enough that Woods was far more interested in the leaderboard than the fact he felt strong physically.

“It was not only nice to get the first round out of the way, but also I’m only three shots out of the lead,” he said. “So to be able to put myself there after not playing for 10 months or so, it was nice to feel the adrenaline out there.”

He was tied for eighth in the 18-man field of this holiday exhibition that awards world ranking points but does not count as official on any tour. Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar were at 67, while Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Kevin Chappell were at 68.

The buzz was back. Johnson noticed it when he was on the practice range and noticed a crowd around the putting green.

“Tiger must be there, because there’s 40 people instead of four,” Johnson said.

Woods delivered his first fist pump on the par-4 fourth hole when he holed an 18-foot par putt after scooping a chip that didn’t reach the green.

“I don’t want to lose shots,” Woods said. “I haven’t played in a very long time and I can’t afford to go out there and make a bunch of bogeys and know that I can make nine, 10 birdies and offset them.”

EUROPEAN TOUR: Sergio Garcia withstood two rain delays and his earliest career starting time for a 5-under 67 and was a stroke behind the leaders at the Australian PGA Championship in Gold Coast, Australia.

Adam Bland, who bogeyed his final hole, and fellow Australian Jordan Zunic, who chipped in for eagle on his last, shared the first-round lead.

Garcia, who started at 6:10 a.m., was in a five-way tie for third with Australians Marc Leishman, Peter Senior, Daniel Nisbet and Michael Wright.

Arjun Atwal began with a course-record 62 despite having no time for a practice round at the Mauritius Open, firing seven birdies and an eagle on his first look at the layout for a four-shot lead.