Tour Championship: Henrik Stenson leads at East Lake after opening 64; Tiger nine back
Henrik Stenson leads the Tour Championship after outscoring playing partner Tiger Woods by nine shots on day one.
Last Updated: 20/09/13 6:18pm
Sent out in FedEx Cup order, No.2 Stenson fired a superb six-under 64 to take a one-shot lead over Adam Scott while Tiger's three-over 73 left him in 29th place in the 30-man field.
Those three - along with Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar (both shot 69s) - know that a win this week will give them the FedEx Cup trophy and the amazing $10m bonus fund.
And it's Stenson who is now in pole position after some sensational iron play took him to the top of the leaderboard.
The Swede, who won the Deutsche Bank Championship two starts ago, put on a ball-striking clinic on the front nine, peppering the flag with a series of wonderful approach shots.
That led to five birdies in the first seven holes as he converted from 8 feet, 8 inches, 4 feet, 23 inches and 10 feet.
After going out in 30, Stenson cooled on the back nine but another brilliant iron shot at 18 allowed him to hole from inside four feet for a seventh birdie of the day and edge one in front of Scott.
Masters champion Scott went on a birdie blitz on the back nine. The Aussie was one-over at the turn but reeled off six birdies in seven holes from the 10th to post a five-under 65.
Woods, meanwhile, failed to card a single birdie in a miserable 18 which saw all parts of his game fail to function - especially his putter.
Tiger was one of just six players who failed to break par on a calm day at East Lake and only US PGA champ Jason Dufner (74) shot higher.
Billy Horschel and Steve Stricker share third place after four-under 66s while another American, Roberto Castro, is in solo fifth following a 67.
Stenson's performance on Thursday was in stark contrast to the end of his rain-delayed final round in the BMW Championship on Monday, when he took out his frustrations at a closing 74 on his driver.
The 37-year-old smacked it so hard on the ground on the 18th that its head flew off.
He then damaged his locker at Conway Farms, with his agent RJ Nemer confirming to Golf.com that Stenson was responsible and saying the incident was the result of a "frustration that manifested itself," adding that Stenson had paid for the damage and "apologised to the appropriate parties."
But while the world number six had good reason to be cheerful, Woods was left to reflect on his first birdie-free round since the 2010 US Open.