Tiger Woods fans got just about everything they could have hoped for in his return to competitive golf.

Tiger fired a round of 3-under-par 69 and is three off the pace set by Tommy Fleetwood at the Hero World Challenge after Thursday’s opening round. Heading into the second round, he’ll go off at 18-1 to come out with the win.

Woods hit a few wayward drives and his short game was rusty at times. But matching Justin Thomas shot for shot after 18 holes is reason to be optimistic.

Heading into the second round, Woods is head to head in a couple of matchups. He’s paired up with Henrik Stenson and is even to beat the Swede on Bovada. If you’re betting it, I’d go Woods over Stenson just for the fact that Stenson came in hurt and one bad swing could tweak his rib injury. Stenson was able to battle back late in his round and post a 70 after a slow start to the tournament.

Woods is also matched up against Kevin Kisner for the second round, where Tiger is a -130 favorite. I’d lean Kisner at even on this one. Kisner played a decent round on Thursday and shot 2-under, and at this point, I don’t think Woods should be favored over anyone in this field.

After 18 holes, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler are all about the same odds at the top of the board, coming in at the +450 or +500 number. If you’re looking for a bet to win at a big number, I’d go back to someone I picked before the tournament. Brooks Koepka opened at 1-under-par and is at 28-1. He’s the type of guy that can take advantage of some par 5s and fire a really low number to get back into this tournament heading into the weekend. He made five birdies but had the second-most bogeys out of the 18 players. So if he can clean up the mistakes, there’s no reason he can’t get back into this event.

Joshua has spent the last five years writing about sports and the last 10 years betting them, mostly on golf. He’s one of approximately five people who will watch the PGA over the NFL in November. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaPerry22

Photo: © Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

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