Tiger Woods returned to competition in style, shooting his best score in more than a year to share the lead with a spectacular six-under-par 64 in the opening round at the Zozo Championship on Thursday.

Two months after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, the 15-times major champion could hardly have made a worse start, hitting his opening drive into a pond at Narashino Country Club.

Three straight bogeys augured for a long day, but for the next 15 holes he could do nothing wrong, running up nine birdies in his first career appearance in the Tokyo area.

Followed by a huge sellout gallery of 17,000, Woods did not let them down with a performance that conjured up images of the halcyon days when he strutted the fairways with an aura of invincibility.

He shares the lead with fellow American Gary Woodland, Hideki Matsuyama a shot further back

Shane Lowry is the best of the Irish after a round of of 71, with Rory McIlroy one stroke behind the 2019 Open winner. 

McIlroy was one under par after 10 holes but bogeyed the 11th, double-bogeyed the next and dropped another shot on the 16th before ending the day with a birdie on the 18th.

Graeme McDowell, however, is propping up the field after a round of 11 over par, 81.

England's Paul Casey leads the European challenge on one under par, with Sergio Garcia a shot further back