Sizzling Stenson one ahead, Woods struggles to 73
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
ATLANTA (Reuters) - In-form Swede Henrik Stenson, boosted by a red-hot front nine, totally upstaged his playing partner Tiger Woods as he surged into a one-shot lead in Thursday's opening round of the elite Tour Championship.
In glorious sunshine with barely a breath of wind at East Lake Golf Club in the PGA Tour's season finale, Stenson piled up five birdies in six holes with a superb exhibition of pinpoint approach play on the way to a six-under-par 64.
Though he dropped his only shot of the day at the par-four 16th, where he found a poor lie in the right rough off the tee and missed the green with his approach, he signed off in style with a four-foot birdie putt at the last.
"When it's your day, you're hitting good shots and getting them as close as I got them," Stenson, ranked second in the FedExCup standings, said after mixing seven birdies with a lone bogey on the long, challenging East Lake layout.
"It's a golf course that it's hard to play well out of the rough, that's for sure, and I definitely hit a lot of fairways and greens.
"Just a very good round of golf but it's still very early in the tournament. One day down, got another three to go."
It was not a day to remember, though, for FedExCup points leader Woods who failed to register a single birdie while making three bogeys on the way to a 73, ending the round in 29th place with only PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner (74) below him.
It was the first time Woods had completed a round on the PGA Tour without a birdie since his opening round at the 2010 U.S. Open, and only the eighth time during his career on the U.S. circuit. Continued...