Woods to Resume Tour Championship First Round Four Behind Clark
Tiger Woods, seeking to clinch the first FedEx Cup title, is among 20 golfers who will return today to finish their opening rounds at the Tour Championship in Atlanta after rain cut short play yesterday.
Tim Clark, who wasn't eligible for the tournament a week ago, beat the three-hour deluge to tie the course record at East Lake Golf Club with an 8-under-par 62. He has a one-shot lead over Padraig Harrington and is four ahead of Tiger Woods, who completed 11 holes.
After heavy rain soaked the course's greens, which are still recovering from damage caused by drought, Tiger Woods laughed when asked about their condition. The world's No. 1-ranked golfer, who led the FedEx Cup points list entering the final event, had five birdies and a bogey.
``The greens were interesting,'' he said. ``I hit them up there and they bounced all over the place and somehow went in.''
Of the other players who can win the FedEx Cup, Phil Mickelson, Rory Sabbatini, K.J Choi and Aaron Baddeley were 1- under after 12 holes, while Steve Stricker -- second in the points list -- was 1-over through 11. Just 10 golfers completed their rounds.
Clark earned a spot in the tournament, the final leg of the U.S. PGA Tour's FedEx Cup schedule, with a fifth-place finish at last week's BMW Championship near Chicago. Because he ranks 27th on the points list and isn't one of the six players able to win the FedEx Cup title, Clark said, he didn't practice.
``I didn't expect much,'' the 5-foot-7 Clark, a 31-year-old South African, said in a press conference. ``I've just sort of shown up and come to play. I guess it worked out.''
Tiger Woods birdied his first three holes, draining a putt from more than 30 feet to go to 3-under. He smiled and shrugged his shoulders after it fell in.
``It bounced to the right, I thought I missed it; it bounced to the left; I thought I missed it; then it bounced to the left, I thought I was going to miss it left, and then somehow it wiggled back to the right up the hill and it went in,'' the 31-year-old golfer said.
Tiger Woods, who won his 13th major title at last month's PGA Championship, followed a bogey at the fifth hole with birdies on the sixth and ninth holes. Adam Scott is tied with Tiger Woods at 4- under with five holes to play in his first round.
Harrington, the British Open champion, shot 6-under 29 over his final nine holes, including four consecutive birdies to finish the day. As he walked off the 18th green, the Irishman joked that he wanted to keep playing.
`A Good Day'
``Let's got to the first tee,'' he said to a group of spectators. ``It's always a good day when you can finish with four birdies.''
While Tiger Woods lamented the soft, bumpy greens, Harrington said they reminded him of the putting surfaces in Ireland after the winter months.
``I'm pretty familiar with them, especially at this pace,'' he said. ``If they were hard and fast and they were like that, it would be real tough. It would be a nightmare.''
John Rollins, among those to finish the opening 18 holes, and Mark Calcavecchia, who got through 16 holes, are tied for third at 6-under.