Published: 08:52 | 2/12/17

Woods performance on return "exceptional", says Spieth

​Former World number one Jordan Spieth has described Tiger Woods' performance as "exceptional" after the 14-time Major winner continued to feature on the leaderboard in his first USPGA Tour event in ten months.

Woods followed up an opening round 69 with a four-under 68 to sit equal fifth in the 18-man Hero World Challenge at the Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas.

He trails leader Charley Hoffman by five strokes after his fellow American holed 12 birdies in a second round 63.

Woods, who is now pain free after undergoing a fourth back operation in April, had not struck a ball in anger since withdrawing from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in February with back spasms.

The 41-year-old showed no ill-effects from his first round as he birdied three of the opening four holes and capped an outward 31 with an eagle on the ninth, thanks to a 265-yard three wood into the wind. 

At that point he held the outright lead, but dropped back after bogeys on the 12th and the 18th, as well as only making par on the 15th when he had a putt for another eagle.

Spieth, who shot 67 to join join overnight leader and Race to Dubai winner Tommy Fleetwood in joint second three off the lead, has been impressed with how Woods has performed on his return.

He said: "You've got to be anxious. Doesn't matter who it is, doesn't matter how well he's been in the past at handling pressure.

"It's still a new experience for him to have that little golf. And to come out and play competitive golf and work his way into contention, that's what's really exceptional."

Image: Getty/ Mike Ehmann

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