Tiger Woods score: Eagle at final hole brings share of 2018 Tour Championship lead
Big Cat closed hard on Thursday at East Lake in Atlanta to finish 5 under
For a while, it looked as if things were going to go very badly for Tiger Woods at the 2018 Tour Championship. Woods bogeyed the first holed he played and didn't look all that adept over the few holes after that. However, birdies at Nos. 5 and 6 righted the ship, and when he birdied Nos. 12 and 14 on the back nine, all of a sudden he was in contention.
After getting to 3 under through 14 and mixing it up with players atop the leaderboard like Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy and Gary Woodland, Woods scattered a few pars and came to the par-5 18th hole. He pummeled a 319-yard drive down the left side of the fairway and followed that with a 250-yard shot to 28 feet. He jarred that putt, his 28th of the day, for an eagle. Woods touched off a 5-under 65 in style and grabbed a share of the lead with Fowler.
This should not be super surprising. Despite not winning this season, Woods is ranked in the top 10 in strokes gained overall and has finished in the top 10 in four of the last seven tournaments he's played. Despite a poor start -- and a poor Round 1 scoring average overall this year -- a correction to what we have come to expect from Woods in 2018 seemed inevitable.
Now we'll see if it lasts. Woods opened the BMW Championship two weeks ago in similar fashion with a 62. He stalled out from there and couldn't quite close out what would have been his first win since 2013.
This is a new week, though, and Woods looks fresh after the week off.
"My body has gotten better," Woods told Steve Sands of Golf Channel. "It's taken a little time. I'm trying to figure out not only swing changes but also equipment. I'm trying to hit a moving target a little bit out there with my game. Everything has evolved. I feel completely different than I did at the beginning of the year."
Woods finished the day third in the field in strokes gained from tee to green and sixth in putting. Making 28-footers for eagle on the final hole will boost the latter category. Making a 26-foot birdie at the fifth to get going in the right direction didn't hurt either. And now Woods co-leads a pretty mammoth 30-player field going into the second day.
"You're not going to get an exemption into this event," Woods told Golf Channel. You have to earn it. You have to get into the top 30. You have to be consistent. You have to be one of the guys who have had a good year. I've earned my way back. All things considered, it's been a huge success."
It was a stunning Round 1 finish for what looked like it could have been a day gone awry early. Woods won this event at East Lake back in 2007, and everything about his statistical profile in 2018 says he should have had a win already in 2018.
Maybe it comes this week. Maybe, in his final start of the season, Woods caps off what has already been a pretty great year. Maybe the Ryder Cup sendoff on Sunday evening is Tiger shooting something low and besting Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose before they head to Paris and he tries to do it all over again.
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