Rickie Fowler finishes in style but Tiger Woods' challenge fades

NATION-NOW     Tiger Woods tracker Follow Tiger Woods' final round at the Hero World Challenge     
       Tiger tracker Follow Woods final round at Hero

Woods finished tied for ninth in his return from a fourth back operation, shooting three rounds in the 60s in a Bahamas event which Rickie Fowler won by four shots with a majestic closing 61, the lowest round of his career.

American Jordan Spieth and England's Justin Rose were tied for second five shots back, Rose after a one-under 71 and Spieth with an even par 72.

Woods was 10 strokes back but he had plenty of smiles as he answered the question of how he would do in his first tournament in almost 10 months following spinal fusion surgery. Though he made a double bogey on the 10th hole - his first double of the week - Woods added three birdies on his back nine before he closed with a pair of bogeys. I showed some good signs.

Breezy conditions made sub-par rounds hard at the Albany course with overnight leader Hoffman one of the few to deliver, surging to a five-stroke lead after a birdie at 18 for a two-under 70 and a 202 total.

"I really didn't feel like I was that far off, that's the insane part", he said. "Nobody was sure how far he'd hit his iron shots, but I think he's done pretty well with that too".

"I don't know what golf courses I will be playing, what's the best way to go about it.We'll figure it out".

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"It feels good to be out here fighting again", he said.

He birdied eight of nine holes on the front and nine of his first 11 to run away with the tournament at Albany Golf Club.

"Anything that I did right ended up in a bad spot, and then anything I did wrong it was really bad", he said.

"I hit the most lovely three wood that went 300 yards in the wind".

Woods posted three under-par rounds for the week, including a final-round 4-under 68 that featured his eagle on No. 7 and a half-dozen birdies.

"It's ridiculous, it took me 14 holes to make a birdie", he said.

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