GREENSBORO, North Carolina (Reuters) - Tiger Woods fed off an “electric” atmosphere to card his lowest score in two years on the PGA Tour, a six-under 64 that left him two shots behind the first round leaders at the Wyndham Championship on Thursday.
Woods, making his first appearance at one of the PGA Tour’s oldest tournaments as part of a last-ditch effort to make the FedExCup playoffs, was greeted like a rock star by hundreds of fans when he arrived on his first tee under gloomy skies at Sedgefield Country Club.
And he did not disappoint the droves that turned up at the crack of dawn, promptly chipping in from 55 feet for birdie at his first hole, the par-four 10th.
Despite a bogey at the very next hole, Woods finally got his putter working to roll in six more birdies for his lowest round on tour since firing a 61 in the second round of the 2013 Bridgestone Invitational.
“It was electric, especially early,” Woods told reporters after draining a 10-footer to save par at his final hole.
“My iron play was very solid but it was nice to finally get some (birdie) putts going in. On top of that it was nice to make some par putts,” said Woods.
Woods, who missed the cut in a major for the third time running last week, ended the day equal seventh, while fellow Americans Erik Compton, William McGirt and Tom Hoge led on 62.
Woods, 39, only recently committed to the Wyndham, the final event of the regular season on the U.S. circuit, as part of a bid to earn extra FedExCup points.
The 14-times major winner is 187th in the FedExCup standings and needs a victory to guarantee a berth in the lucrative four-event playoff series that starts in New Jersey next week with The Barclays.
It would be premature to suggest Woods’s good start means his recent troubles are behind him, because the course, softened by heavy rain, was there for the taking, and players were allowed preferred lies.
Nevertheless, it was the sort of confidence-boosting round he no doubt needed after the poor form — no top-15 finishes in 10 starts this year — he has demonstrated for much of the year.
“I felt very good out there today,” Woods said. “I hit a lot of good iron shots, made some putts, finally got something out of my round.”
Editing by Frank Pingue and Tony Jimenez