Two Share Lead at Betsy King Classic
Carri Wood, Michelle McGann, Wendy Doolan and Michelle Ellis share third place at 5-under par.
McGill opened on the back nine at Berkleigh and parred her first four holes before breaking into red figures at the 14th. She holed a wedge shot from 110 yards for an eagle and played even par over the rest of her front nine.
McGill drained a 20-foot birdie putt on the second hole and birdied two in a row at five and six. She flew the putting surface at the seventh but holed another shot from off the green, this time a chip-in birdie from 20 feet, taking her to 7-under and into the outright lead.
The 30-year-old pushed her drive into the right rough and punched her second over the green. McGill three-putted from the fringe for a bogey and fell into a tie for the first-round lead.
'Today is a result of what I've been working on,' said McGill, who played in Sunday's final pairing with Annika Sorenstam at the U.S. Women's Open. 'Anytime you have breaks like that, you are lucky, but I've been hitting it close.'
Ammaccapane also began on the second nine but her round was not as wild as McGill's. She drained a three-footer for birdie at No. 13 and followed two holes later with a 10-foot birdie. Ammaccapane closed her front nine with birdies at 16 and 18 and made the turn at 4-under 33.
Ammaccapane used great wedge play on her back nine to take her place on top of the leaderboard. At the par-5 fifth, Ammaccapane knocked her wedge shot to two feet to set up the easy birdie and closed her round with three-foot birdie putt at the ninth.
'It was actually nice and comfortable and easy to play out there today,' said Ammaccapane, a seven-time LPGA titlist who is winless in her last four years on tour. 'I was never between clubs and I was not in a whole lot of trouble. I think I could have had a lower score because I thought a few lipped out and I think I left a couple out there. Certainly I will take this as a first round.'
Moira Dunn, Susan Ginter-Brooker, Angela Stanford, Stefania Croce and Val Skinner share seventh place at minus-4.
Se Ri Pak, third on the LPGA Tour money list, opened with a 2-under-par 70 and is part of a group tied for 19th, four shots off the lead.
Karrie Webb, who won the Women's British Open two weeks ago, shot a 1-under 71 and shares 33rd.
Heather Daly-Donofrio, the 2001 Betsy King Classic winner, struggled in the opening round of her title defense. She shot a 4-over 76 and is part of group tied for 122nd.
Full-field scores from First Union Betsy King Classic
FedExCup projected standings after Rd. 1 of Tour Championship
ATLANTA – Bryson DeChambeau started the week in the No. 1 spot in the FedExCup standings. But after the first round of the Tour Championship, he’s surrendered his lead.
Justin Rose, the current world No. 1, is the new projected winner of the $10 million bonus. Rose shot 4-under 66 in the first round and is tied for third in the tournament. He began the week in second place in the FEC standings.
DeChambeau struggled to a 1-over 71 and is currently tied for 21st in the field of 30.
Here’s a look at the projected standings after 18 holes at East Lake Golf Club, which includes Tiger Woods jumping from No. 20 to No. 2.
|FedExCup Rank||PLAYER NAME||FedExCup Points|
Tiger's driver now a great asset to his game
ATLANTA – Tommy Fleetwood hit a handful of tee shots past Tiger Woods on Thursday at the Tour Championship. But Woods found more fairways [10 to eight] and shot four strokes lower [65 to 69].
Ever since making adjustments to his driver – which included adding loft and changing the shaft – at The Northern Trust, Woods’ long game has become one of his greatest assets.
Woods hit 10 of 14 fairways in the first round at East Lake Golf Club, which led to hitting 14 of 18 greens in regulation. Twenty-eight putts equaled a 5-under round and a share of the lead.
It’s not as though Woods has completely traded distance for accuracy. He hit his drive on the par-5 18th 320 yards and that helped produce an eagle.
It’s more like he now has the ability to control his driver. Those wayward tee shots we had become accustomed to seeing aren’t so offline. That means sometimes he’ll send one 296 yards – like he did on the first hole – and sometimes he’ll gear up and knock one 328 yards – like he did at the fifth.
“[I]f I hit it normal, I hit it just as far. And so that's to me like 300 yards in the air,” he said. “But … the neat thing about this one is that if I miss it and spin it a little bit, those spinners stay in play instead of chasing off on me, and I can turn this ball.
“Like the tee shot I hit down 18, I didn't have that shot earlier with – not enough loft. … [M]y spin rate would be so low that it wouldn't stay in the air.”
“And so, yeah, if I hit controlled shots, they're in play and they're shorter. But if I go ahead and step up and launch one, I'm just as far. The neat thing is I don't have to swing it as hard to hit the ball as far. And so it puts a little less toll on my body. I don't have to have my speed up there at 120, 121, 122 miles an hour to carry it 305, 310 like I did before.”
Often times you hear players talk about aspects of their game and it sounds like they are trying to convince themselves that things are OK. Tiger's actions are backing up his words.
TT postscript: This 65 better than Aronimink 62
ATLANTA – The start wasn’t much to look at, but that finish was something else. Tiger Woods eagled the final hole on Thursday and shares the 18-hole lead at the Tour Championship. Here are the things you know you want to know:
• First of all, let’s give a pat on the back to the man who most deserves it today: Me. Early this morning, I sent this tweet:
Less than an hour until tee time. Gotta good feeling about this week. Let’s set the O/U today at 66.5 on the par 70. And then take the under.— Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) September 20, 2018
Never doubt my good feelings. Ben Crenshaw doesn’t have my good feelings. We may have 54 holes to play, but I gotta good feeling we’re going to be changing that Tiger Tracker avatar Sunday night.
• Now onto Tiger. After all, he did hit 10 of 14 fairways, 14 of 18 greens in regulation and took 28 putts. It wasn’t looking good early when he had nine putts through four holes and was 1 over par. But he birdied Nos. 5 and 6, turned in 1 under, and really turned it on down the stretch with two birdies and an eagle over his final seven holes. And if you take a good look at the scorecard below you’ll notice he didn’t make a bogey after the first hole.
• How good is a 65 at East Lake? Better than his opening 62 at Aronimink, according to Woods: “This was by far better than the 62 at Aronimink. Conditions were soft there. This is – it's hard to get the ball closer. There's so much chase in it. If you drive the ball in the rough, you know you can't get the ball close.”
Woods added that you had to play “conservatively” and be patient – take what the course allowed. Tiger missed five putts – four of them for birdie – inside 15 feet. But in the 93-degree heat, he kept his composure and made putts of 26 and 28 feet for birdie, and 28 feet for eagle.
• This week feels different. It feels like Tiger is really ready to win again. He seems very serious, very focused. He talked about “getting the W” on Wednesday and said on Thursday, “[T]he objective is to always win.”
After shooting 65, Woods signed a few autographs and eventually made his way to the putting green. If he gets those 15-footer to fall, we’re going to be two wins away from tying Sammy.
• So, what about that eagle on 18, you ask? Tiger said he “hammered” a driver – which was listed at 320 yards – and then hit a 5-wood from 256 yards to 28 feet. As for the putt: “It took forever for that putt to start breaking, grain coming down off the left. But once it snagged it, it was going straight right.”
Right into the cup. Right into the lead. Our man is making history this week.
Watch: Highlights from Tiger's first round at East Lake
Tiger Woods is back at the season-ending Tour Championship for the first time since 2013, and he provided the fans in Atlanta with some highlights on the first day of competition.
Still looking for his first win of the year after coming close on numerous occasions, Woods started the day off by splitting the fairway on the first hole with the driver, not even bothering to watch his ball land.
Despite the picture-perfect opening tee shot, Woods would go on to bogey the first hole, but he rebounded with back-to-back birdies on 5 and 6, making putts from 26 and 15 feet.
Tiger's best shot on the front nine came on the par-4 seventh hole after he found the pine straw behind a tree with his drive. The 14-time major champ punched one under the tree limbs and onto the green, then calmly two-putted for par from about 40 feet en route to a front-side 1-under 34.
Woods added two more birdies on the par-4 12th and 14th holes, rolling in putts of 3 feet and 7 feet after a couple of great looking approach shots.
Woods finished his round with a vintage eagle on the par-5 18th hole, finding the green with a 5-wood from 256 yards out and then sinking the 28-foot putt.
Co-leader. pic.twitter.com/MMUZ8zptQ9— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) September 20, 2018
The eagle at the last gave Woods a share of the early first-round lead with Rickie Fowler at 5-under 65.