Tracker: Woods 2 off Simpson's lead at Bridgestone

Webb Simpson during the first round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Webb Simpson during the first round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

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Tiger Woods opened the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational with a 4-under 66 Thursday at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.

But it is Webb Simpson who has hold of the first-round lead following a 6-under 64. Simpson leads by a shot over Henrik Stenson.

Woods is looking for his eighth title at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but first since 2009. He's also searching for his fifth victory of the PGA Tour season, but first since the Players Championship in May.

After missing the cut at the Open Championship, Rory McIlroy bounced back with a solid even-par 70. Rickie Fowler also played well, carding a 3-under 67. Bubba Watson also shot 67.

But not everyone had an easy time around Firestone.

Phil Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker fired 72s, Adam Scott shot 73, and Martin Kaymer recorded a 74.

We followed the action all day long, including Tiger's round, which included five birdies and one bogey. Scroll down to see how Tiger's round unfolded, shot by shot.

Here's how it all unfolded:

• • •

Update No. 15: 5:13 p.m. EDT

Rory McIlroy cards an even-par 70 after bogeying the par-4 18th hole.

• • •

Update No. 14: 5:04 p.m. EDT

After a birdie at No. 16, Phil Mickelson three-putts for bogey at the par-4 17th to fall back to 2 over.

• • •

Update No. 13: 5 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson moves back to 1 over after a birdie at the par-5 16th.

• • •

Update No. 12: 4:40 p.m. EDT

A birdie at the par-5 16th moves Rickie Fowler to 3 under, three back of leader Webb Simpson.

• • •

Update No. 11: 4:27 p.m. EDT

Three birdies in his last four holes has moved Rory McIlroy back to 1 under. The latest birdie came at the par-3 15th, just one hole after he missed a short birdie.

• • •

Update No. 10: 4:10 p.m. EDT

Henrik Stenson's 5-under 65 earlier today has him one shot off the lead at the moment. It's been a sweet year for Stenson, too, who is finding redemption after a few years of turbulence. Click here to read Jim McCabe's story on the Swede.

• • •

Update No. 9: 3:50 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson sticks his approach to a few feet at the par-4 11th and he birdies the hole to move to 1 over. Also, Rickie Fowler is 2 under after making a 10-footer for birdie at the par-4 13th.

• • •

Update No. 8: 3:48 p.m. EDT

Rory McIlroy birdies the par-3 12th, sinking an 8-footer to move to 1 over.

• • •

Update No. 7: 3:45 p.m. EDT

A bogey at No. 8 and a double at No. 10 drop Rory McIlroy from 1 under to 2 over. He did just stick his tee shot at the par-3 12th to about 8 feet, though.

• • •

Update No. 6: 3:30 p.m. EDT

Luke Donald birdies the par-3 seventh to move to 4 under. He's two shots back of clubhouse leader Webb Simpson.

• • •

Update No. 5: 3:21 p.m. EDT

A couple surprises at the bottom of the leadeboard as Matt Kuchar is 3 over through seven holes and Jason Day is 4 over through seven holes.

• • •

Update No. 4: 3:04 p.m. EDT

Phil Mickelson just missed a 6-footer for par at the par-3 seventh hole, resulting in a second straight bogey. Phil is now 2 over on his round.

• • •

Update No. 3: 2:59 p.m. EDT

Luke Donald, who missed the cut at the Open Championship, is playing well early today. He's 2 under through four holes.

• • •

Update No. 2: 2:32 p.m. EDT

Bill Haas is off to the best start this afternoon. He's 3 under through six holes. Rory McIlroy is also looking more comfortable than he did two weeks ago at Muirfield. Rory is 1 under through five holes.

• • •

Update No. 1: 2:10 p.m. EDT

The afternoon groups are chasing clubhouse leader Webb Simpson, who carded a 6-under 64.

• • •

Hole No. 9: Par 4, 494 yards

Final hole of the day for Woods, who is coming off his fifth birdie of the day and fourth in his last eight holes.

Hole wrap-up: Tiger has been solid off the tee, even with the driver, today. But this one, with driver, goes way left. From the 10th fairway, Tiger hits his approach over the trees and finds the front part of the green, about 30 feet from the hole. He then two-putts for par to wrap up a 4-under 66.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 4 under thru 18 holes

Elsewhere on the course: Webb Simpson now has a two-shot lead after a birdie at No. 7 to move to 7 under.

• • •

Hole No. 8: Par 4, 482 yards

Two holes left in the round for Tiger, who is still two shots back of the lead after a two-putt par at No. 7.

Hole wrap-up: Tiger hits driver and finds the fairway. He's 5-of-7 in finding fairways with the club. His approach is a beauty, too, coming to rest about 7 feet from the hole. That results in the fifth birdie of the day for Woods.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 4 under thru 17 holes

Elsewhere on the course: Henrik Stenson is in with a 5-under 65. He's one back of leader Webb Simpson, who is 6 under through 15 holes.

• • •

Hole No. 7: Par 3, 219 yards

Tiger can't get birdie to drop at No. 6, but a Webb Simpson bogey at No. 3 allows Woods to gain ground on the lead. He's now just two shots back.

Hole wrap-up: Tiger finds the green, but is about 30 feet short of the hole. He misses the birdie putt a little right and makes par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 3 under thru 16 holes

• • •

Hole No. 6: Par 4, 469 yards

Tiger still can't get anything of distance to fall on the greens, yet he's got four birdies today. That tells you just how good his iron and wedge play has been.

Hole wrap-up: Driver to the middle of the fairway for Woods, who then finds the middle of the green about 25 feet away with his approach. He nearly makes the birdie, but again just misses and ends up with par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 3 under thru 15 holes

Elsewhere on the course: A bogey for Webb Simpson at No. 3 drops him back to 5 under, where he shares lead with Henrik Stenson.

• • •

Hole No. 5: Par 3, 200 yards

Three birdies in four holes has helped Tiger forget about his putting woes on the first nine. Not that he's had to make many long ones. His last three birdies have come from 8, 2 and 6 feet.

Hole wrap-up: Tiger finds the green off the tee. He's just a little longer than pin-high and about 20 feet right of the hole. He can't get the birdie putt to drop, though, and settles for par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 3 under thru 14 holes

Elsewhere on the course: Scott Piercy and Matteo Manassero complete the first rounds of the day, finishing at 2-under 68 and 71, respectively.

• • •

Hole No. 4: Par 4, 471 yards

Tiger now has two birdies in three holes on the front nine, pulling to within a few shots of the lead in the process.

Hole wrap-up: Tiger smacks driver and finds the short stuff. His approach then ends up 8 feet from the hole before his birdie putt finds the bottom of the cup.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 3 under thru 13 holes

Elsewhere on the course: Webb Simpson is now your solo leader at 6 under after a birdie at the par-5 second.

• • •

Hole No. 3: Par 4, 442 yards

The par-5s weren't very kind to Tiger today. He played them in 1 over. He's four shots back of the lead right now.

Hole wrap-up: Tiger finds the right side of the fairway with fairway wood, but he has a tree in his way. He has to cut his approach around the tree and does a brilliant job, as the ball ends up 2 feet from the hole. He makes the short birdie.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under thru 12 holes

Elsewhere on the course: A birdie at the par-4 first hole moves Webb Simpson to 5 under and into a share of the lead with Henrik Stenson.

• • •

Hole No. 2: Par 5, 526 yards

Tiger starts his front nine off the same way he started his back nine, with birdie. Now he'll get a shot at the second and final par-5 of the round.

Hole wrap-up: Tiger hits driver and just misses the fairway. From the intermediate rough, Tiger leaves his second shot just short and right of the green. He opts to putt from just off the green and leaves the eagle try about 10 feet short. He misses the birdie putt, too, before making a disappointing par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under thru 11 holes

Elsewhere on the course: Henrik Stenson is now 5 under through 13 holes and leads Webb Simpson by a shot.

• • •

Hole No. 1: Par 4, 399 yards

Tiger just can't get anything to drop. Maybe he can get the putter to heat up over these final nine holes of the day.

Hole wrap-up: Fairway wood and fairway. That's been a good combination so far today for Woods, and it continues to be off the tee here. Tiger follows with another close approach. He has about 6 feet left for birdie and he drains it.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under thru 10 holes

Elsewhere on the course: Henrik Stenson is now 4 under through 11 holes, and leads Webb Simpson, Ryan Moore and Kiradech Aphibarnrat by a shot.

• • •

Hole No. 18: Par 4, 464 yards

Tiger settles down after a bogey at No. 16 to make par at No. 17. A birdie here would give Tiger some momentum heading into the front nine.

Hole wrap-up: Tiger hits driver and it just hangs on the right side of the fairway. Another approach to the center of the green for Tiger, who will have about a 25-footer for birdie. He misses it and makes another par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: Even thru 9 holes

Elsewhere on the course: Kiradech Aphibarnrat is among those tied for second at 2 under.

• • •

Hole No. 17: Par 4, 400 yards

That wasn't what Tiger had in my mind for his first par-5 of the round. He's still just three shots back of the lead, though.

Hole wrap-up: Back to the fairway wood for Tiger and he finds the middle of the fairway. He then finds the middle of the green about 20 feet shy of the hole. He gives it a good roll for birdie, but misses left and settles for par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: Even thru 8 holes

Elsewhere on the course: Webb Simpson joins what is now a four-way tie for second at 2 under after a birdie at the par-3 15th hole.

• • •

Hole No. 16: Par 5, 667 yards

First par-5 of the day for Tiger and it's a long one.

Hole wrap-up: Tiger finds a fairway bunker off the tee, hitting driver and missing right. Tiger gets unlucky as the ball plugged under the lip. From an awkward stance, he gets the ball out, but it only goes about 80 yards after clipping a tree. He has to lay up with his third shot. He now has a tough shot at the flag with water in front of the green and a front hole location. He sends his wedge shot 25 feet past before missing the long par putt and making bogey.

TIGER ON THE DAY: Even thru 7 holes

Elsewhere on the course: Henrik Stenson still leads at 3 under, now through eight holes. Fellow Swede Peter Hanson has moved up to 2 under along with Ryan Moore and Jason Dufner.

• • •

Hole No. 15: Par 3, 221 yards

Another great approach leads to Tiger's second birdie of the day and he's back in red numbers.

Hole wrap-up: Tiger yells at his tee ball to bite before it ends about 25 feet past the hole. Tiger's birdie roll moves left to right but goes a few feet past. Tiger then makes par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under thru 6 holes

Elsewhere on the course: Graeme McDowell and Lee Westwood are among those at 1 under early on.

• • •

Hole No. 14: Par 4, 467 yards

While the irons have been good, the putter has been off so far for Tiger.

Hole wrap-up: Tiger goes with driver again and finds the middle of the fairway. He follows with another great approach, landing it about 5 feet right of the flag. This time he capitalizes, draining the birdie putt.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under thru 5 holes

Elsewhere on the course: The group of players one back of leader Henrik Stenson is growing with Nicolas Colsaerts, Ryan Moore, Shane Lowry and Billy Horschel joining Jason Dufner at 2 under.

• • •

Hole No. 13: Par 4, 471 yards

Tiger has now missed two putts of about 10 feet in his first three holes, missing out on two strokes as a result.

Hole wrap-up: Tiger pulls out driver for the first time today and splits the fairway. He then hits the center of the green about 20 feet from the cup. He doesn't like his birdie putt, pulling it left and sending it a couple feet past. He makes par, though.

TIGER ON THE DAY: Even thru 4 holes

Elsewhere on the course: Jason Dufner moves to 2 under through five holes and he's now one back of leader Henrik Stenson.

• • •

Hole No. 12: Par 3, 180 yards

After a birdie at the opening hole, Tiger gives it right back with bogey at the second.

Hole wrap-up: Nice tee ball from Tiger who plants his tee shot about 10 feet past the hole. He misses the birdie putt, though, before settling for par.

TIGER ON THE DAY: Even thru 3 holes

Elsewhere on the course: Adam Scott, Billy Horschel and Tiger's playing competitor, Hideki Matsuyama, are among those at 1 under.

• • •

Hole No. 11: Par 4, 418 yards

Tiger has talked this week about how comfortable he's felt at Firestone and it showed on that first hole.

Hole wrap-up: Woods goes with another fairway wood off the tee and misses in the right rough. He can't reach the green with his approach, leaving it just short of the putting surface and in the fairway. He then leaves his chip about 10 feet short and he'll have an uphill putt to save par. He misses it and taps in for bogey.

TIGER ON THE DAY: Even thru 2 holes

Elsewhere on the course: Henrik Stenson eagles the par-5 second hole to move to 3 under through two holes.

• • •

Hole No. 10: Par 4, 410 yards

Tiger will tee off on the back nine this morning alongside Hideki Matsuyama. He's dressed in all black today with a little red and gray on the front of his shirt.

Hole wrap-up: Tiger takes fairway wood off the tee and finds the right side of the fairway. He then sticks his approach to about 2 feet and makes the birdie. Nice start.

TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under thru 1 hole

Elsewhere on the course: Jonas Blixt and Henrik Stenson, both of Sweden, join Woods, Jason Dufner and Scott Piercy in the early lead at 1 under.

• • •

Weather update

Temperature is right around 70 degrees with a high of mid-70s expected. Some rain on Wednesday softened up the course a little and there's a slight chance of more rain later today. Winds are currently hovering at less than 2 mph.

• • •

Pre-tournament coverage

Hate to be Rude: McIlroy turns to friends for answers

Ben Hogan used to say that the driver, not the putter, is the most important club in the bag because it sets everything up. Decades later, the Hawk apparently gets no argument from slumping Rory McIlroy.

Tiger Woods 'very comfortable' at Firestone

Tiger Woods has won seven times on Tour at Firestone Country Club. So it's no wonder the annual stop in Akron, Ohio, is one Woods looks forward to.

Brandt Snedeker continues busy stretch at Firestone

Brandt Snedeker will have a busy schedule between now and the end of the FedEx Cup playoffs. He'll look to capture his first major championship and defend his FedEx Cup crown during that stretch, too.

Fantasy Tip Sheet: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

As a seven-time champ at the WGC-Bridgestone, Tiger Wood is a no-brainer pick this week. But a couple of our panelists are also tossing out some love for Adam Scott and Steve Stricker.

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