Tiger Woods used a back-nine flourish to shoot 5-under 66 in the opening round of the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Woods made five birdies on the inward half to finish within three stokes of first-round leader Troy Matteson.
'Really made some good swings on the back nine,' Woods said after competing in the hot, humid conditions. 'It's a little stifling. The wind made it more difficult.'
Matteson birdied his final four holes Thursday, including a bunker hole-out at the last, for an 8-under 63. Three players are knotted at 7 under, including Brian Harman, Jeff Overton and Robert Garrigus.
''The pin is really tricky on 18,' Matteson said. 'I knew I'd be doing good if I could leave myself 7 or 8 feet for par, and it bounced and slam-dunked in the hole. That's the first time all year the ball has managed to hit the pin and stay in the hole.''
Woods was 2 under through seven holes when he lipped out a pair of short par putts on Nos. 8 and 9. After making the turn in even-par 35 – eight shots off the lead – he rolled in a beauty of a birdie on the par-4 10th, his ball climbing a protective ridge from 25 feet and dropping off perfectly into the hole.
He then birdied the par-5 11th thanks to a 350-yard drive and a pair of putts.
Following three successive pars, Woods birdied the 292-yard, par-4 15th after hitting a 3-wood into the left, greenside bunker. He then hit his tee shot on the 174-yard, par-3 16th to 3 feet for back-to-back birdies. Woods made it three-in-a-row with a routine up-and-down on the par-5 17th.
Woods had a chance to shoot 30 on the back nine, but missed a 10-foot birdie putt at the last. He will play alongside Jbe' Kruger, who also opened 66, in Round 2 at 10:10 p.m. ET.
'It's going to take something over 20 under par to win this tournament,' Woods said. 'It's a different type of mindset. Shooting even par on the front nine, felt like I got run over.'
This event is co-sanctioned by the PGA and Asian tours; though, it is not an official PGA Tour event. It features a 48-man field and has no cut.
Golf Channel coverage of Round 2 of the CIMB Classic begins Thursday at 10 p.m. ET.