Sizzling Stenson one ahead, Woods struggles to 73

Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:50pm EDT
 
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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...

 
Henrik Stenson of Sweden watches his shot from the third tee during the first round of the Tour Championship golf tournament at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia September 19, 2013. REUTERS/Tami Chappell (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT GOLF)