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1 eagle and 4 birds! In the first round of the Tour Championship, Woods tied with Fowler for a lead of 65 strokes
Release time:2024-03-15

Woods and Fowler lead the first round of the Tour Championship
On September 21st Beijing time, the audience at Donghu was more and more noisy than when Woods last toured the tournament five years ago. This is not a coincidence. Woods hit one of the best shots of the year when he returned to the final game of the Federal Cup, as he pushed the Hawks over 25 feet in the fifth hole on the 18th hole and delivered 65 shots on a sunny Thursday afternoon, 5 shots below par, leading with Ritchie Fowler and causing great cheers.

This is the second time in two playoffs that Woods has tied for an 18 hole lead. Two weeks ago, he hit 62 in the first round of the BMW Championship at Aronimink Golf Club. On that day, the flooded court allowed everyone to hit low shots.

In the dry and more challenging Donghu Golf Club, such a result feels even better.

"This is much better than Aaron Nimick's 62 strokes," Woods said. "The game conditions there are soft. Here, it's difficult to hit the ball close to the flagpole. If you take the ball into the long grass, you know you can't get close to the flagpole. You can't control the ball."

Ricky Fowler missed two playoffs due to an injury to his right oblique muscle. On Thursday, except for two holes, he had a chance to push the bird in each hole and ultimately hit 65, making a good start to avoid losing the championship throughout the season.

Justin Ross competed with the world number one title for the first time. He pushed and caught a bird in the sand pit of hole 18, hitting 66 shots, tied with Gary Woodland in third place. McCoy, Justin Thomas, and McCoy will all go to France next week to participate in the Ryder Cup, falling behind by another stroke and tied for fifth place.

Woods believes that he has been able to enter the East Lake 30 man lineup and participate in the final game of the Federal Cup, which is already considered a successful year. Here, everyone theoretically has a chance to win the $10 million prize. He underwent his fourth lumbar surgery before starting the season in January, and has only played a total of 16 races in the past four seasons.

"Being able to play golf again and return to this level was something I hoped to do at the beginning of the year, but I really don't know," Woods said. "Am I already done?"

What does winning this comeback mean?

"That will definitely boost this year," he said.

Woods still has 54 holes to be drilled. Two weeks ago, he went from being tied for the lead in the first round to being 5 strokes behind because of the field that can directly attack the green, and your only option is to hit a low shot.

This one emphasizes more on accuracy. And Woods felt completely in control of the ball. He started by pushing three times at a distance of 25 feet and swallowed the bogey. When he pushed the bird twice, the distance the ball passed through the hole exceeded his liking. But after pushing a 25 foot bird into hole five and a 15 foot bird into hole six, he understood the speed of the green and started driving.

"I played so many high-quality balls all day, whether it was from the serve to the green, or putting," Woods said. "I didn't make any mistakes today. To be honest, the only ball I played poorly today was the opening on hole 17. I used a third wood to hit the ball, and if I used an iron rod, I might have hit an opposing ball. But in the end, the ball landed on the fairway, and I saved a Par."

Woods will depart from the latter group with Fowler on Friday. Before Woods returned to the field, Ritchie Fowler had seen him play multiple times at his Florida home. Ricky Fowler completed a round and was in an interview when he heard Woods take down the eagle, creating a huge cheer that made people turn their heads.

They will be teammates in the Ryder Cup next week. Ricky Fowler has other goals in East Lake.

"For him, the big victory is to stay healthy and play consistently throughout the year," said Ricky Fowler. "I'm definitely happy for him. It's very obvious that this is great for our sport. Next week, he's a really good member of our team. We hope he continues to perform well. I hope I can play better and eventually defeat him."

A team of 30 contestants, 16 of whom broke the standard on a hot and slightly windy afternoon. Thursday is more about keeping up, especially not falling behind in the pursuit of the Federal Cup.

Bryson DeChambeau, ranked first after a points reset, caught two birds in the last three holes and only hit 71. Players like Woods or Fowler must perform poorly in the top five seeds to win the Federal Cup.

Justin Ross and Justin Thomas are not that kind of seeded players, they have a strong start. Tony Finau overcame a bogey early in the morning and hit 67, which was also impressive.

Woods' key point may be Friday. This year, there was only one time - the Wesberg Championship held in Innsbruck - and he remained steady throughout, maintaining his position in the championship race. He will definitely receive a lot of support. The houses and even funeral parlors along the street outside Donghu provide parking spaces, and their courtyards are filled with cars. This kind of scene has been missing for several years.

"I haven't participated in this game for five years, and some people say they haven't come to watch it for five years," Woods said. "It's really good that they can come out and support this game, and also support me."

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