Woods shares BMW lead with McIlroy following 62
(Aronimink GC, PA) Tiger Woods continued to boost hopes of his first victory in well over five-years with a sizzling outward nine of 29 and a round of 62 in oppressive conditions on day one of the BMW Championship in Philadelphia.
Woods headed to the scorer’s room at 8-under 62, and one behind Rory McIlroy, who at that stage was 9-under through 15 holes before back-to-back bogeys at the 7th and 8th brought him back to the field. He recovered with a birdie at the par-5 9th hole (his 18th).
Woods had ignited thoughts of a career first 59 in producing an eagle and four birdies, and in the process recording just 13 putts, in his opening six-under par 29.
He then moved to 7-under with a birdie at his 10th hole but then parred his next five holes ahead of a 16th hole birdie before Woods’ only bogey at his 17th. He ended the first round of his 18th event this year with an eighth birdie.
Woods’ effort was his lowest round all season since a final round 64 to finish second in the PGA Championship while it is his lowest PGA Tour score since his second round 61 to capture the 2013 WGC – Bridgestone Invitational, and his last taste of success anywhere.
“I made a few putts today and also from right out of the gate with birdies at 10 and 12 and 13 so that was a nice way to get things rolling,” he said
“Then to shoot 29 on the front nine helps. It helps a lot.”
After being out in 29, the current World No. 26 quickly had Tour officials delving into their Woods statistics folder and advising tht it was the sixth occasion in Woods’ 22-year pro career he’s completed a front nine in 29 or better.
And on four of those occasions – the 1996 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic (29), the 1997 AT&T Byron Nelson Classic (29),2006 WGC – American Express Championship (29) and the 2007 Tour Championship (28) – Woods has gone on to win.
It has only been the 1999 AT&T Bryon Nelson Classic, where he also shot 59, that Woods finished T7th.
Woods clearly looked refreshed after electing not to visit the course on Wednesday, and also skipping for the first time this year the ubiquitous pre-tournament Pro-Am.
The 42-year-old credited his lowest round all season with a decision to return to the putter he won 13 of his 14 Majors and this after taking two putters into his only practice round, and one of the them the ‘Scotty Cameron’ he used today.
“The putter felt good and my body remembered the feel of that putter and how it swings, and I was just letting them rip on the greens,” he said.
“The greens also were just perfect and while a bit on the slow side, they were great”.
It was a slow start for the four Aussies in the field with Jason Day leading the pack at 3-under and equal 20th.
Cameron Smith shot a 1-over 71 to slide into a tie for 57th while Adam Scott and Marc Leishman have some work to do in 67th place.