Tiger roars at East Lake, Fowler joins the hunt

Tiger Woods fired the imagination of the golfing world with a brilliant 65 in the opening round of the TOUR Championship

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Tiger Woods - TOUR Championship - PGA TOUR Image

September 21, 2018: Tiger Woods has been scenting prey for several weeks now. He finished T6 at the Open and came second at the PGA Championship. His 62 at the BMW Championship served notice, firing a salvo at a young bunch of predators who had taken the woods for themselves soon as Tiger was laid low through injury and surgery. With a splendid five under 65 on Thursday, Tiger Woods reminded the golf world that the beast is hungry, out looking for prey.

Tiger hasn’t won since taking the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in 2013, his fifth win that season. He has endured four crippling back surgeries, which left his golfing future in doubt. Woods soaked up pain and doubt as he wondered about his mobility, let alone rediscovering any sort of athletic magic.

Tiger Woods strides purposefully at the TOUR Championship - PGA TOUR Image
Tiger Woods strides purposefully at the TOUR Championship – PGA TOUR Image

All that seems relegated to the past now. And for good. Tiger lined up a 28-foot putt at the 18th, sinking an eagle to snatch a share of the lead and the soaring imagination of a hungry crowd. He is 22 under for his last five rounds and the scent of a Tiger victory has the golf world in a tizzy.

“The season itself has been amazing. To be able to play this well and to come back from where I’ve come back and to get here has been a pretty tall order and something I’m proud of,” said Woods.

Tiger is averaging 67.5 for his last 16 rounds of professional golf and his return to form is lifting golf into an orbit only he can find.

“Tiger Woods is good at golf,” acknowledged Tommy Fleetwood and twitterati was amused enough to give the post over 25,000 likes and several thousand retweets. 

Rickie Fowler, returning from an absence due to an oblique injury that is now believed to relate to the ribs, produced a brilliant opening round. Fowler made 9/14 fairways and 6/18 greens, firing six birdies and a lone bogey in a 5-under 65.

Rory McIlroy played well and looked set to take charge at one stage. But a double at the 12th cost him dear as he fell back from the top. McIlroy shot seven birdies in his 67.

The odds though are stacked against Woods winning the FedExCup. He needs each of the following conditions to be fulfilled to claim the trophy

Tiger Woods wins
Bryson DeChambeau T15 or worse
Justin Rose in a three-way tie for fifth place or worse
Tony Finau T3 or worse
Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas in a three-way tie for second or worse
Keegan Bradley T2 or worse

Leaderboard

Rickie Fowler 65 (-5)
Tiger Woods 65 (-5)
Gary Woodland 66 (-4)
Justin Rose 66 (-4)
Rory McIlroy 67 (-3)
Justin Thomas 67 (-3)
Tony Finau 67 (-3)

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