Saturday, September 01, 2012
Tiger off to hot start at Deutsche Bank Championship
By Ben Everill
NORTON, Massachusetts (Reuters) - Tiger Woods produced a stunning surge in the opening round of the Deutsche Bank Championship on Friday, firing a seven-under 64 to share the early clubhouse lead with fellow American Jeff Overton.
The 14-times major champion played his first eight holes in two-under par before carding six consecutive birdies to lead by as many as four shots at one stage in the second of the PGA Tour's four lucrative FedExCup playoff events.
"I played really well today. I hit a lot of good shots, and on top of that I putted well at the same time ... it was a nice little combination," said Woods, who made five birdies from 12 feet or longer. "I hit the ball well enough to probably shoot maybe one or two more."
Australia's John Senden and South African Louis Oosthuizen were two shots back after carding matching five-under 66s while big names Luke Donald, Dustin Johnson and Ian Poulter were among five players in the clubhouse a further shot back.
Woods, the 2006 champion at this event, played the back nine first and wasted little time making a move.
After his tee shot at the par-three 11th landed 12 feet from the hole, Woods coolly drained the birdie putt for some early confidence on the greens. Two holes later Woods sank a 19-footer that put him at two-under par.
He came within inches of an eagle from 42 feet on the 18th but took the birdie, the first of six on the trot, including a 12-footer on his 11th hole and a 15-footer on his 12th.
The heat dissipated a little over his final four holes as Woods missed a chance for a seventh consecutive birdie before scrambling for pars on the seventh and eighth holes.
The only blemish of the day for Woods came on the last hole when he overcooked his approach shot at the par-four ninth and failed to get up and down.
Overton did his best to keep pace and, after going two-under through 11 holes, put together his own birdie binge by closing out his round with six birdies over the final seven holes to join Woods atop the leaderboard.
"It makes the game easy whenever you putt well," said Overton. "Unfortunately the last three months I think it's probably been the worst I've ever putted in my life.
"I've seen three different putting instructors over the last five weeks, and I think at the PGA (Championship) I threeâ€‘putted like five times or something, and it was just horrible.
"And then today for some reason all the hard work that I've been putting into it paid off, and I was able to clean the ball up around the hole."
The leading 70 players on the FedExCup points list after this event advance to the BMW Championship, with the top 30 then advancing to the Tour Championship finale in Atlanta where the overall points winner pockets a $10 million bonus.
(Editing by Frank Pingue)