Tiger roars at Tour Championship as Justin Rose gains upper hand


A three-putt bogey at the first was the only blemish as Woods added four birdies before striking a crisp five-wood from 255 yards to the final green.

Woods holed from 25 feet for an eagle on the 18th at East Lake to complete a five-under par 65 and join Ryder Cup team-mate Rickie Fowler at the top of the leaderboard.

Of the five, the one happiest with his day's work was the new world No 1, Justin Rose, who marked his recently acquired status with a fine 66, although defending champion Justin Thomas and in-form Tony Finau left content as well following rounds of 67.

One difference - he considered his Thursday 65 trumping the 62 he fired two weeks ago for the first-round lead of the BMW Championship. "My body's gotten better, he said afterward".

He's the one coping with Bermuda rough deep enough to hide all but the top of a golf ball, with greens that are slick and firm and with a golf course that is the most demanding test players have seen this side of a major.

That hole also represented a good microcosm of Woods' day overall, with the 42-year-old reaching the 75-percent-or-higher marks for both "driving accuracy" and "greens in regulation". "You just can't control it".

"To have earned the confidence in my team mates and captain to be selected gives me a lot of excitement going into the Cup", said Woods. "The only hard part was getting my speed on the greens".

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"A win would just enhance my year", Woods said.

"It's something that I haven't done in a number of years, and this is a good starting point".

"The only shot that I can honestly say that I "necked" pretty bad was the tee shot at 17, " he said.

There were 10 players in the 30-player field who shot over par in the first round, including BMW Championship victor Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson, a captain's pick for the U.S. Ryder Cup team next week.

Current FedEx Cup leader Bryson DeChambeau had an East Lake debut he would rather forget in posting two double-bogeys over his opening nine en-route to a round of 71. The tournament's co-leaders, Woods and Fowler, would be five and six shots back, respectively. "There is a little bit of a comfort level that you have to get used to when playing alongside him, especially in a big situation, in the final group".

Woods is still in the mix despite Xander Schauffele (64) surging into the outright lead at 13 under at the elite 70-man event - the penultimate leg of the $US67 million ($A93 million) FedEx Cup playoffs.