Westwood Out in Front in Spain
Defending champion Retief Goosen was two shots back after an opening-round 66. Goosen was joined by Trevor Immelman, Markus Brier, Andrew Coltart, Nick O'Hern and Stephen Scahill in a tie for fifth.
Westwood, who won five times in 2000 on his way to the Order of Merit title, has seen his fair share of struggles without a single top-10 finish this season. However, the Englishman, fresh off a solid performance at the Ryder Cup in September, showed signs of his old form at Club de Campo.
'I've worked very hard at home for the last two weeks and I feel it's all coming together,' said Westwood. 'I was looking forward to playing this week and got here early on Tuesday to prepare well.'
He collected three birdies on the front nine and added another at the 10th to move to 4-under. After a birdie at the 12th, Westwood had an eagle opportunity at the par-5 14th, but his putt came up short. Nonetheless, he tapped in for birdie to grab a share of the lead.
Westwood took sole possession of first place at the par-3 17th. He knocked his tee shot within tap-in distance and converted for his best round of the year.
'It's been a long time since I shot a 64,' said Westwood. 'I think this is my lowest score for two years, so it's very satisfying. I've worked hard for it.
'I've been working hard for the last two years, but golf is a strange game. Sometimes you just need to find the key and the confidence can come back as quickly as it left.'
Harrington, who is looking to dethrone Goosen as Order of Merit champion, picked up his first birdie at the fourth and added another at the eighth. He ran home three consecutive birdies starting at the 10th before a birdie at the 15th for a round of 65.
Goosen, who became the first South African to win the Order of Merit with a victory at this event last year, currently leads the European Tour money list.
Adam Scott, a two-time winner on tour this season, had seven birdies and three bogeys to finish three shots back at 4-under-par 67. Scott was joined by Roger Chapman, Diego Borrego, Carlos Balmaseda, Sam Torrance, Christopher Hanell, Patrik Sjoland and Marten Olander.
Fredrik Jacobson, Gary Orr, Anders Hansen, Graeme McDowell, Tomas Jesus Munoz, Henrik Nystrom, Jorge Berendt, Steen Tinning, Jose Rivero, Anthony Wall and Gary Evans are tied at 3-under-par 68.
Seve Ballesteros, a three-time winner of this event, withdrew before the start of the tournament due to the death of his mother. Ballesteros was replaced in the field by Peter Fowler.
Full-field scores from the Telefonica Open de Madrid
Second-round tee times for the Tour Championship
Tiger Woods will go out last and Phil Mickelson will go out first in Rd. 2 of the Tour Championship.
Woods and Rickie Fowler share the 18-hole lead. The field is re-paired after each round, according to their scores. Here’s a look at second-round tee times at East Lake Golf Club.
(All times ET)
11:40AM: Phil Mickelson (+3), Keegan Bradley (+3)
11:50AM: Patrick Reed (+3), Marc Leishman (+2)
Noon: Hideki Matsuyama (+2), Kevin Na (+2)
12:10PM: Billy Horschel (+1), Bryson DeChambeau (+1)
12:20PM: Patton Kizzire (+1), Patrick Cantlay (+1)
12:30PM: Cameron Smith (Even), Bubba Watson (Even)
12:40PM: Aaron Wise (Even), Francesco Molinari (Even)
12:50PM: Brooks Koepka (-1), Dustin Johnson (-1)
1PM: Tommy Fleetwood (-1), Webb Simpson (-1)
1:10PM: Jason Day (-2), Kyle Stanley (-1)
1:20PM: Jon Rahm (-2), Xander Schauffele (-2)
1:30PM: Tony Finau (-3), Paul Casey (-2)
1:40PM: Rory McIlroy (-3), Justin Thomas (-3)
1:50PM: Gary Woodland (-4), Justin Rose (-4)
2PM: Rickie Fowler (-5), Tiger Woods (-5)
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|
Woods, Fowler match 65s to lead Tour Championship
ATLANTA - Another tournament, another share of the first-round lead for Tiger Woods.
Woods made an eagle putt from just over 25 feet on the par-5 18th hole for a 5-under 65 and a share of the lead Thursday with Rickie Fowler in the Tour Championship.
It wasn't as low as the 62 he shot at Aronimink to share the 18-hole lead in the BMW Championship two weeks ago. For Woods, this one felt even better because of the dry, tougher conditions at East Lake.
Woods has said getting to the Tour Championship after recovering from a fourth back surgery makes this year successful even without a victory.
Justin Rose, in his debut at No. 1 in the world, and Gary Woodland were at 66.
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.