It was his birdie at number seven that fully convinced fans that the old Tiger was back after the 42-year-old holed a staggering putt from 71 feet before brandishing that customary grin that can strike fear into the heart of any opponent.
After a long absence from the game as he dealt with back issues, Woods's comeback and return to form have energised golf in ways not seen since he dominated the sport.
"It feels great the people are so supportive".
Las Vegas bookmakers have been so impressed that they have installed the former world number one as one of the favourites to win next month's U.S. Masters.
After starting from the 10th, Woods birdied the 12th, 13th and 16th to reach the turn in 33, but looked to have undone most of his good work with a wild tee shot out of bounds on the third hole which led to a double-bogey six.
But that was just for starters.
Woods not only feels supremely confident on the track, but cherishes the time spent with Palmer, who traditionally greeted the tournament victor on the last green in the city Woods formerly called home.
Woods finds himself eager to get back into the competitive hunt at the Masters, where he has played only once since 2013, nabbing a share of 17th three years ago.
More to come on Woods' first round at Bay Hill momentarily.
"It's taken a few tournament rounds under my belt to be able to get into this position (regularly), but I've got my tournament feels now, which is nice".
A 11-foot par putt on No. 9 wrapped up a thrilling day for Woods, who is in contention for the second week in a row after finishing T2 at the Valspar Championship last week. "Just keep making incremental improvements and I think I've done that".
"Everything needs to be shored up a little bit, a little bit tighter and a little bit better but every one of us says that", he added.
"I love being on top when Tiger's around", Reed said. "So I'm still learning, I'm getting a lot better at it ".