The Tiger roars again
Tiger Woods has responded in a magnificently positive way to his divorce by shooting a 65 for a share of the lead at The Barclays.
Tiger Woods has hit back from the pain of his divorce on Monday by shooting a 65 and taking a share of Thursday’s first-round lead at the Barclays in New Jersey.
The world number one, whose marriage to Elin was formally dissolved three days ago, opened his round in the best possible fashion with a birdie at the first hole and three more at the third, fifth and seventh.
Hole 12 saw his one dropped shot of the day, but he bounced back with two successive birdies and then rolled in an eight-foot putt at the last to move to the summit of the leaderboard at Ridgewood Country Club along with Vaughan Taylor.
Woods said: “Being first off with fresh greens, everybody in our group was making putts on the front nine.
“You had to get it today, especially with the wind being down early, and then we had fresh greens so it was good to be out early.
“I just played today. I went out and played, made a few tweaks on the range with my swing. Started off warming up not very good at all. I was hitting it all over the lot but made a couple of tweaks and found what I have been working on. I hit it good today.
“It feels good to be able to control my ball all day like this. I haven’t done that for a while.
“The one time I hit the ball like this was the nine holes at the US Open, on the Saturday. This is how I hit it but I hit it all day like that. It feels good to have the things I’m working on starting to feel more natural.”
The round represents a superb start to Woods’ FedEx Cup campaign. The 34-year-old goes into the play-off series in the unfamiliar position of 112th in the standings, and said: “It was important. I have to play my way into next week. I have to play well this week in order to advance and this is a good start.”
Taylor birdied four of the last six holes to sit level with Woods in top spot, while Ryan Palmer was part of a three-strong group at five under..
Palmer had made a flying start that saw him birdie the first five holes and gain further ground at the seventh and eighth. He gave those two shots back on a dismal 10th hole but recorded another birdie at the13th before a three-putt at the last left him five under.
Brian Gay matched that total, his seven-birdie round marred only by a double-bogey six at the sixth hole while Adam Scott also recorded seven birdies in his 66.
Defending champion Heath Slocum and Colombia’s Camilo Villegas featured in a large group at four under par, while Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and the consistent Matt Kuchar carded three-under 68s.
Padraig Harrington was back at two under after spoiling his round with two bogeys on his final five holes.
Scotland’s Martin Laird recorded three birdies in his tidy two-under round of 69 and England’s Luke Donald’s 70 featured two birdies on the front nine.
FedEx Cup leader Ernie Els was level par, with second-ranked Steve Stricker a shot better after a 70.
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