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Woods and McIlroy share lead

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 07/09/2018 skysports.com
 
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Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy lit up the opening round of the BMW Championship as the star draws ended day one in a share of the lead. 

Both had legitimate chances to join the PGA Tour's 59 club after a barrage of birdies as the Aronimink course was rendered almost defenceless by the power hitters, with 48 of the 69-player field breaking the par of 70.

Woods would eventually settle for an eight-under 62, while McIlroy soon overtook him with a stunning run of six consecutive birdies, but the Northern Irishman's hopes of a sub-60 round suddenly disappeared with two late bogeys.

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The pair have a one-stroke lead over Xander Schauffele, while defending FedExCup champion Justin Thomas and European Ryder Cup star Alex Noren also enjoyed confident starts as both posted 64s.

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Woods, reunited with the famous putter that he won multiple majors with, set the pulses racing early on when he birdied three of his first four holes after starting at the 10th, and he then hit the shot of the day at the long 16th - a towering 230-yard three-iron which set up an eagle from five feet.

The 42-year-old added another birdie at the 18th to turn in 29 and picked up another shot at the first, but he passed up a couple of further chances over a run of five pars before getting back on track with a three at the seventh.

However, he slipped up at the tough 246-yard par-three eighth, where he pulled his tee shot long and left and was unable to get up-and-down from close to the grandstand, although he rolled in his seventh birdie putt of the day at the ninth to card his lowest opening round on the PGA Tour since 1999.

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Woods' efforts soon looked likely to be overshadowed by a resurgent McIlroy, who birdied 11, 12 and 13 before atoning for missed chances at the 15th and 16th with a confident three at 18.

That birdie sparked a run of six in a row, all from inside 10 feet, as he raced to nine under which left him needing only two more gains to fire the second 59 of the season following Brandt Snedeker's sublime opening round at the Wyndham Championship.

But McIlroy came up short with his approach from the left-rough at the seventh and mis-read his 12-foot putt for par, and he then needed three to get down from just off the back of the eighth green to hand Woods the outright lead once again.

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The 29-year-old regrouped and managed to find the ninth green in two before safely two-putting for his 10th birdie, although he admitted afterwards he was "disappointed" with his 62.

Schauffele, who needs a top-10 finish to earn the chance to defend his Tour Championship title in Atlanta, bounced back from an opening bogey to card eight birdies in an impressive 63 which lifted him into outright third ahead of Thomas, Noren, Billy Horschel and Peter Uihlein.

Rickie Fowler, who has not played since the PGA Championship after suffering a back injury, kept a bogey off his card in a five-birdie 65, a score matched by former BMW PGA champion Byeong Hun An.

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There was further good news for European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn as Justin Rose, Jon Rahm and Henrik Stenson each fired 66s, while Stenson's fellow wildcard pick Ian Poulter opened with a frustrating 68.

Due to the threat of bad weather on Friday, second round Featured Group coverage will now begin at 12:30pm on Sky Sports Golf.

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