• AFP-JIJI

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Tiger Woods narrowly missed out on a storybook ending in his return to competitive golf on Sunday after a final round birdie blitz fell short at the PNC Championship family tournament in Florida.

Woods, playing in his first event since suffering career-threatening injuries in a car crash 10 months ago, reeled off 11 consecutive birdies alongside his 12-year-old son Charlie to card a 15-under-par 57 to finish at 25-under in the two-round tournament at the Ritz Carlton Golf Course in Orlando.

The Woods duo, however, were unable to come up with a 12th birdie on the par-five 18th, settling for par and missing the chance to put pressure on two-time major champion John Daly and his son John Daly II.

The Daly duo eventually closed with a birdie to match the Woods' second-round 57 and finish at 27-under for a two-shot victory.

A weary Woods — who almost needed to have his shattered right leg amputated after his car crash in Los Angeles in February — said he was simply grateful to be playing again.

"I'm just happy and thankful that I'm able to do this," Woods said.

"I still have my own leg, which was questionable for a while, and it's functioning. I'm just really tired — I'm not used to this.

"I think this might be only my fourth or fifth round of golf this year. I'm a little worn out. It was nice to have a cart."

Woods said he and his son set a target of playing two bogey-free rounds — which they achieved.

"Our whole goal for the two days was don't make any bogeys — last year we made two — and we didn't make any," Woods said.

"We felt we'd have to birdie every hole on the back nine to have a chance. It got interesting and a little tight towards the end, which was fun."

Woods, who returned from spinal fusion surgery in 2017 and won his fifth Masters title in 2019, has called his rehabilitation the hardest of his career.

He said he had a "long way to go" to be able to return to top-flight golf, even on a part-time basis.

He disagreed with fellow pro Matt Kuchar's assessment that apart from his inability to walk the course, his game was ready for PGA Tour-level competition.

"No, no, no, no," Woods said. "I totally disagree. I'm not at that level. I can't compete against these guys right now, no."

This week in Orlando, however, was a welcome chance to play with Charlie for the second year in a row.

"Even a couple of weeks ago we didn't really know whether or not I would be doing this, but here we are," Woods said. "And we just had the best time ever.

"I just wish I could have walked down the fairways with him and been side-by-side with him the entire time like we were last year.

"But I did what I could," added Woods, who said his "competitive juices" will never go away, no matter his physical limitations.

"This is my environment," Woods said. "This is what I've done my entire life."

Woods said the two days gave him a better sense of what he can do, but noted he didn't play a lot of draws and also found many of his shots coming up short.

"And then a few times I actually hit it solid and I smoked it over a couple of greens," he said. "I've got some work ahead of me."

Daly, who won the 1991 PGA Championship and 1995 British Open, teamed with John II, an 18-year-old playing his first season of collegiate golf at Arkansas.

They grabbed their first win with 13 birdies and an eagle on Sunday.

The younger Daly admitted to some having some nervous moments when the Woods name popped up on the leaderboard right behind them.

"Obviously nervous," he said. "But we had the advantage because we were the last group, so we knew what we had to do on the last hole, or the last three holes, even."

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