Tiger Woods drained a 27-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole to card a 5-under-par 65 during the first round of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta on Thursday.
Woods’ sixth eagle of 2018 vaulted him into a tie for the lead with Rickie Fowler when he walked off the golf course.
Entering the week needing a win and some help to claim an unprecedented third FedEx Cup title, Woods followed a familiar pattern this year in getting off to a rough start with a bogey on the first hole.
He got his round into red figures with consecutive lengthy birdie putts on Nos. 5 and 6 and made the turn in 1-under 34. Woods added birdies at Nos. 12 and 14 before reeling off three consecutive pars.
He found the fairway on the par-5 18th, and then blistered a 5-wood from 255 yards to just inside 28 feet.
“Once it reached its peak, I saw it was going through the wind and I just started walking,” Woods told the Golf Channel. “I knew it was good.”
It was the same hole he famously eagled during the 2007 Tour Championship — No. 9 at the time before the nines were flipped.
Woods faced a tricky left-to-right putt this time around, and managed to slide it into the left side of the cup, eliciting a fist pump as he put a punctuation mark on his first round at the Tour Championship in five years.
“That putt was taking forever for that grain to take it, and it finally did in the last three to four feet,” Woods said.
How good did it feel to be back at East Lake, competing in the season finale?
“You’re not going to get an exemption into this event, you’ve got to earn it,” Woods said. “You have to be part of the Top 30, you have to be consistent and you’ve got to be one of the guys who have had a good year.
“And I’ve earned my way back. All things considered, it’s been a pretty good success.”
—Field Level Media