Published: Tue, September 25, 2018
Sport | By Floyd Cook

Rose opens Tour Championship with stellar 66

Rose opens Tour Championship with stellar 66

Four straight one-putts on the back nine Friday in the Tour Championship - three for birdie, one for par - offset a double bogey and gave Woods a 2-under 68 and a share of the 36-hole lead for the first time in three years.

The 14-time major victor, bidding for his first PGA Tour win in five years at East Lake, sunk a 27-footer to join Rickie Fowler at the top of the leaderboard. Woods classed this round at a different level than the 62 he compiled in Philadelphia two weeks ago.

The only thing that could possibly ramp up still more interest in the Ryder Cup next week would be a Tiger Woods victory here at the Tour Championship at East Lake.

Jason Day admits he is hungry to return to golf's spotlight after taking a back seat to a vintage Tiger Woods on day one at the Tour Championship.

Former world number one Woods has not claimed a tournament since 2013, though the 42-year-old has twice been a runner-up this season - most recently at the US PGA Championship.

While the rankings formulas continued to play out, Fowler and Woods were the stories on the course Thursday. "I chipped and putted a lot, so my short game feels pretty good".

At the 5th hole, Woods was staring at a 26-foot birdie opportunity, but the putt required an extra ooomph of firmness, since there was a slight rise on the green right off the bat.

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"It's hard to get the ball closer". I'd like to see that happen, I just need to go out there and do it.

"It would enhance the year, " Woods said at the prospect of PGA Tour win No. 80.

Woods matched Fowler's 65 just a little bit later in the day with a 28-foot eagle bomb at the last. The only way he can win the overall title - he won it in 2007 and 2009 and is the only player to do so twice - is to first win the Tour Championship and then have various outcomes among players near the top.

There were 10 players in the 30-player field who shot over par in the first round, including BMW Championship victor Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson, a captain's pick for the U.S. Ryder Cup team next week.

Woods had a two-shot lead when his tee shot on the 16th nestled down in the rough.

"I told Thomas, "if you end up picking me, I'll make sure that I play something coming into the Ryder Cup", Garcia said on Wednesday, ahead of the tournament at the Algarve resort of Vilamoura.

For FedEx Cup leading Bryson DeChambeau the math is very simple. "But I thought I could sneak it up there and get up on the upslope and have a good angle in there, and it just didn't work out".

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