NASSAU, Bahamas — Rickie Fowler was the first player to offer a scouting report on Tiger Woods ahead of his celebrated return to golf, hinting that Woods was hitting it “way by” him in some of their matches in Florida.

Fowler’s own game apparently was in pretty good shape, too.

Seven shots behind Charley Hoffman to start the final round of the Hero World Challenge, Fowler opened with seven straight birdies Sunday and closed with an 11-under 61 to set the course record at Albany Golf Club and win by four shots over Hoffman.

Fowler, who finished at 18-under 270, played twice with Woods before he was runner-up at the OHL Classic in Mexico in early November, and then a couple more times before Thanksgiving.

“I think he sharpened me up a little bit,” Fowler said with a grin. “I’ve gotten a little scared of how good he was playing at home, thought I needed to start playing a little bit better or something.”

Fowler and Woods each had cause for celebrations, large and small, in the Bahamas.

Fowler won his second title of the year, making it the second time he has ended a year with multiple victories worldwide. Woods made a return to golf that was solid with his health and his game, and he headed into the holidays thinking about a schedule for 2018.

“I’m excited,” Woods said after closing with a 68. “This is the way I’ve been playing at home.”

In a week that began with so much curiosity over how Woods would perform, he had his best result in four years. More than his score, he looked strong from start to finish, including a vicious recoil on a 2-iron he hit from 265 yards on the third hole that ran over the back of the green.

Playing for the first time in 10 months while recovering from fusion surgery on his lower back – his fourth back surgery in three years – Woods shot a 31 on the front nine but closed with back-to-back bogeys to tie for ninth in an 18-man field – 10 shots behind Fowler.

EUROPEAN TOUR: Cameron Smith won the Australian PGA Championship with a par on the second hole of a playoff with fellow Australian Jordan Zunic.

Smith bogeyed the 18th in regulation and closed with a 3-under 68, while Zunic shot a 71. Both finished at 18-under 270.

• Dylan Frittelli of South Africa beat India’s Arjun Atwal with a birdie on the first playoff hole to win the Mauritius Open.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.