NORTON, Mass. — Tiger Woods told the media on Thursday that while his weekends at majors haven’t been great, this has been a very good season overall.
On Friday, he backed up that talk with his best round of the season, carding an 7-under 64 to share the lead with Jeff Overton as the afternoon groupings started at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
Woods ran off six consecutive birdies, starting at the par-5 18th and running through the par-4 5th hole.
See how it all unfolded with our shot-by-shot Tracker:
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No. 9, par 4, 472 yards
Our Bradley S. Klein on No. 9: One of the ironies of tree clearing is that contrary to conventional wisdom, the wider the landing area, the harder it is for players to put it in play. That’s because they tend to get a little looser, thinking they have more room to work the ball, and on a dramatic dogleg left like this one, the ideal draw quickly turns into a power block right or quick pull left.
• Off the tee: Tiger takes 3-wood here and splits the fairway with his stinger.
• Approach shot: With just over 180 yards left, Tiger starts this one right of the hole and it just trickles into the intermediate cut of rough on the back of the green, about 35 feet from the hole.
• On the green: After his first missed green of the back nine, Tiger runs his third shot about 10 feet past and he doesn’t make that, picking up his first bogey of the round and falling back to 7 under.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 7 under (thru 18 holes)
• Elsewhere on the course: Luke Donald and Dustin Johnson have both carded 4-under 67s, while Justin Rose and Bubba Watson post 4-over 75s. Graeme McDowell slogged to a 3-over 74.
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No. 8, par 3, 213 yards
From our Bradley S. Klein on No. 8: A lovely not-so-little platform green with a run-up ramp on the far side of a marsh, with bunkers set at 4 o’clock and 7 o’clock and a hollow around the back. It’s very much in the style of Seth Raynor and makes for a simple but effective presentation.
• Off the tee: After a long wait on the tee, Tiger doesn’t flirt with any of the mess in front of the green, and takes it past the flag and into the heart of the green. It’ll be a lengthy birdie try – 55 feet or so – but the safe play.
• On the green: Tiger hits a nice birdie putt to about 3 feet, which is the longest par putt that he has faced in a dozen holes. He drains the par putt to stay two ahead of the field.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 8 under (thru 17 holes)
• Elsewhere on the course: Jeff Overton has now run off five straight birdies and has moved to 6 under, two back of Tiger. Overton has two holes to play. John Senden (5-under 66) and Ian Poulter (4-under 67) are in the clubhouse. Poulter’s 67 comes on a course that he says he dislikes and is built for “bombers.”
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No. 7, par 5, 600 yards
With Tiger holding a three-shot lead over Louis Oosthuizen and Jeff Overton, Tiger gets to his last par 5 of the day. From our Bradley S. Klein on No. 7: Long hitters will be able to reach this green in two – but only if they bomb a tee shot 300-plus yards into an area of fairway that narrows and brings a pair of bunkers into play on the left. In other words, this is one of those par 5s where the strategy at the green sets up the strategy on the tee shot.
• Off the tee: Tiger won’t be able to go after this green in two after his tee ball sails way right and is flirting with some tree trouble after hitting the cart path.
• Second shot: Tiger plays this one safe – even though he could have taken a chance by trying to move it around the trees – and just simply pitches out to the fairway.
• Approach shot: With over 200 yards left from the left fairway, Tiger doesn’t flirt with the tucked pin the back left, and just puts it on the green and leaves himself a long birdie putt of more than 40 feet.
• On the green: Tiger still gives his birdie attempt a great run, but misses the hole by a foot and taps in for a nice par considering where his drive ended up.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 8 under (thru 16 holes)
• Elsewhere on the course: Ahead of Tiger, Dustin Johnson bogeys the par-5 7th hole to fall back to 4 under, while Luke Donald does the same at the 8th hole. Meanwhile, Jeff Overton has birdied four consecutive holes and has moved to 5 under, his last birdie coming at the par-4 15th hole.
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No. 6, par 4, 465 yards
We haven’t seen this type of play from Tiger Woods in awhile, simply running away from the field with six consecutive birdies to get to 8 under, three clear of Dustin Johnson. From our Bradley S. Klein on No. 6: Straightaway, and perhaps the least compelling hole on the layout, defined only by a green tipped right-to-left toward a pond and with a very tough hole location in the front left. (Read Brad’s hole-by-hole breakdown here)
• Off the tee: Tiger pulls driver here and slashes it up the left side of the fairway to the tune of 320 yards, leaving himself about 140 yards into the front pin location.
• Approach shot: Tiger lofts his approach toward the green and lands it about 15 feet under the hole.
• On the green: The birdie streak comes to an end, even though he thought he had it. A two-putt par, his first two-putt since the 8th hole.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 8 under (thru 15 holes)
• Elsewhere on the course: Dustin Johnson birdies No. 6 to move to 5 under and jump into second with Luke Donald, who birdies No. 7. Louis Oosthuizen, Jonas Blixt and Ian Poulter have all moved to 4 under to join John Senden.
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No. 5, par 4, 466 yards
This is almost like rinse and repeat, that is five consecutive birdies for Tiger and he is now three shots ahead of the field. From our Bradley S. Klein on No. 5: Here and throughout the course, the width and angles of play effectively mask the relative absence of elevation change of site. The drive must carry 260 yards over a well-placed fairway bunker right center that defines the ideal line of approach.
• Off the tee: Tiger smokes a drive up the right side of the fairway and will have just over 155 yards into the back left pin.
• Approach shot: This is getting ridiculous, as Tiger puts his approach to within a foot at the 5th hole and will need to tap that in for a sixth consecutive birdie.
• On the green: Um, yeah, he tapped that in for his sixth straight birdie and he now holds a four-shot lead.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 8 under (thru 14 holes)
• Elsewhere on the course: Bubba Watson continues to slip, now at 4 over thru 14 holes on the day. There are 29 players at 1 under or better (there are 48 players on the course currently). Harris English has the low round in the clubhouse with a 1-under 70.
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No. 4, par 4, 298 yards
Tiger is making TPC Boston look easy with his fourth consecutive birdie to move to 6 under and now moves to a drivable par 4. From our Bradley S. Klein on No. 4: It’s the perfect short, drivable par 4: it makes you think, and there’s trouble via a bunker or scrubby native wildflower.
• Off the tee: After a long wait on the tee and playing into the wind, Tiger decides to take driver and pushes it left of the green.
• Second shot: Tiger hits a beautiful flop shot to less than 5 feet, which he’ll have for a fifth consecutive birdie.
• On the green: And he gets another one. That is five straight birdies for Tiger and is now 7 under, three shots clear of the field.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 7 under (thru 13 holes)
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No. 3, par 3, 208 yards
That was a nice up-and-down for birdie at No. 2 for Tiger, who reclaims the solo lead at 5 under, one shot ahead of Dustin Johnson and John Senden. Tiger has only 17 putts thru 11 holes.
• Off the tee: Tiger is feeling it today, as he goes pin-hunting again and leaves himself about 15 feet from the left of the flag for another great look at birdie.
• On the green: Wow, Tiger is simply in a zone right now, burying this birdie putt as well to make it four straight and take a two-shot lead at 6 under.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 6 under (thru 12 holes)
• Elsewhere on the course: With a birdie at No. 4 – his third in the last four holes – Luke Donald has joined Dustin Johnson and John Senden at 4 under. Meanwhile, Bubba Watson is struggling mightily, sitting at 3 over thru 12 holes after three bogeys in his last six holes. Justin Rose and Graeme McDowell are both at 3 over as well.
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No. 2, par 5, 542 yards
That is back-to-back birdies for Tiger to take a one-shot lead at 4 under (he is now tied with Dustin Johnson and John Senden). He now gets to another par 5 with a chance to extend the lead. From our Bradley S. Klein on No. 2: One reason the Tour pros like this course is because it occasionally gives them a chance to bomb away and gain an advantage. All it takes off the tee here is to favor the left side, ideally with a fade, to get it beyond a diagonal array of two key bunkers on the right, 270-310 yards out.
• Off the tee: Tiger hammers a driver and he finds the intermediate cut of rough on the left side of the fairway, leaving himself only 200 yards into the green.
• Second shot: After a long delay in the fairway because of a Bubba Watson water ball in the group ahead of them, Tiger’s second shot hits hard on the green and goes off the back. He’ll need an up-and-down to reclaim the solo lead.
• Around the green: Tiger chips across the green and sends it about 12 feet past the flag, which he’ll have for a birdie.
• On the green: Another one-putt here and Tiger reclaims the lead at 5 under, and that is three consecutive birdies for Woods.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 5 under (thru 11 holes)
• Elsewhere on the course: As Tiger waited in the fairway, Dustin Johnson birdied No. 2 to move to 4 under, while John Senden birdied No. 12 to make it a two-way tie for second. Meanwhile, Charl Schwartzel – No. 71 in the FedEx Cup standings – has moved to 3 under, joining the likes of Luke Donald and Lee Westwood.
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No. 1, par 4, 365 yards
That was a standout first nine holes for Tiger Woods, hitting 8 of 9 greens and 5 of 7 fairways en route to a 3-under 32 to get the tournament started. He has a share of the lead with Dustin Johnson, J.J. Henry, Ian Poulter, Scott Stallings, John Senden and William McGirt. Tiger’s 3 under also included a 6-foot birdie miss at the par-4 15th.
• Off the tee: Playing this short hole, Tiger simply uses fairway wood and splits the fairway, leaving himself about 135 yards into the back left pin.
• Approach shot: Tiger challenges a bunker in front of the tucked pin and succeeds, leaving himself about 12 feet from under the hole for birdie.
• On the green: Tiger buries another birdie putt, this time to take the outright lead at 4 under. Really nice approach shot set this one up for Tiger.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 4 under (thru 10 holes)
• Elsewhere on the course: It’s becoming a party at 3 under, with Lee Westwood joining in after a birdie at No. 10.
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No. 18, par 5, 530 yards
From our Bradley S. Klein on No. 18: The green here has been changed completely from the last few years; it’s now a smaller target, elevated and less forgiving, though still readily reachable in two and thus the scene of lots of risk/reward action. (Check out Jim McCabe’s feature on the 18th hole here)
• Off the tee: Tiger said yesterday that he wouldn’t be pulling driver at the 18th – said he didn’t have the distance in the air to carry a pair of bunkers – and he holds true to that, using 3-wood and finding the fairway.
• Second shot: Despite hitting 3-wood, Tiger still sent his tee ball nearly 310 yards down the fairway. Impressive. With about 230 yards left, Tiger lands his shot on the green and he’ll have about 40 feet for an eagle. Impressive “game plan.”
• On the green: The eagle putt just skirts by on the left edge and he knocks in an 18-incher for birdie to jump into a tie for the lead.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 3 under (thru 9 holes)
• Elsewhere on the course: Dustin Johnson – who is fighting for a Ryder Cup spot – has joined the leaders at 3 under after a birdie at No. 18 just ahead of Tiger. Meanwhile, with a bogey at No. 9, Adam Scott has fallen out of a share of the lead and back to 2 under.
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No. 17, par 4, 421 yards
From our Bradley S. Klein on No. 17: There are pronounced options, all created by a diagonal mound that traverses the fairway and creates three options: drive deep right and play down to the green from 130 yards out; lay up short left and play in from 155 yards, though with an obstructed view; or thread a drive through the mid-fairway chicane and wind up within 100 yards on a perfect little flat spot. (Read Brad’s hole-by-hole breakdown here)
• Off the tee: Tiger takes 3-wood here and plays his stinger up the right side of the fairway, leaving himself 155 yards into the back pin.
• Approach shot: Tiger hits another green, sending his one left of the hole and he’ll have about 20 feet for another birdie.
• On the green: Tiger’s birdie attempt runs about 20 inches past on the left and he taps in for another par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (thru 8 holes)
• Elsewhere on the course: With a par-5 7th hole, John Senden has joined J.J. Henry, Adam Scott, Scott Stallings and D.A. Points at 3 under to create a five-way tie for the early lead. There are 24 players under par on the course. The worst score on the course right now is 3 over (Ben Crane, Charlie Wi, Geoff Ogilvy).
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No. 16, par 3, 161 yards
From our Bradley S. Klein on No. 16: There is a lot of box-seat, stadium-style viewing here around this petite par 3 over water to one of the smallest greens on the course.
• Off the tee: With water lining the left, Tiger just puts it in the middle of the green. He has missed only one green in regulation thus far on Friday.
• On the green: From just over 30 feet, Tiger leaves it about 2 feet out of the hole and he knocks that in for a nice par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (thru 7 holes)
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No. 15, par 4, 421 yards
From our Bradley S. Klein on No. 15: A safe tee shot to the wider right side leaves a blind entry to a perched green that does not support an approach played in from that side. (Read Brad’s hole-by-hole breakdown here)
• Off the tee: Tiger takes a fairway wood here and slides it up the left side, giving himself a nice attack position into the far right pin from about 150 yards. It is Tiger’s third fairway hit of the day.
• Approach shot: Tiger hits a magnificent shot here, taking dead aim at the hole and having it land 6 feet to the right of the hole, where he’ll have another great look at birdie.
• On the green: He’ll kick himself for this one, as his birdie putt hits the lip and he taps in for a two-putt par from 6 feet.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (thru 6 holes)
• Elsewhere on the course: D.A. Points joins Adam Scott and Scott Stallings at 3 under. Points is No. 72 in the FedEx Cup standings and will need a solid tournament to move onto the BMW Championship next week. Meanwhile, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Dustin Johnson have all joined Tiger at 2 under.
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No. 14, par 4, 495 yards
From our Bradley S. Klein on No. 14: The idea here is pretty simple on this long, graceful left-turning hole. Just hit the left side of the fairway for an ideal line with a middle iron in to the green.
• Off the tee: Tiger takes another driver here and he splits the fairway this time, with the ball running out to the right, but staying in the fairway. He’ll have just under 180 yards into the green.
• Approach shot: Tiger launches his approach and hits the green, but will have nearly 40 feet from behind the hole for birdie.
• On the green: Another lag putt situation, and Tiger nearly gets it there, leaving it about a foot outside the hole and he taps in for a par. Tiger has seven putts in five holes.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (thru 5 holes)
• Elsewhere on the course: With a birdie at No. 7, Scott Stallings has joined Adam Scott at 3 under to sit one shot clear of five tied at 2 under, including Tiger and Ian Poulter, the recent Ryder Cup selection.
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No. 13, par 4, 451 yards
From our Bradley S. Klein on No. 13: A hole that looks tougher from the tee than it plays for these guys. Of course, it helps if you regularly carry your drive more than 260 yards, which they all do.
• Off the tee: Tiger pulls driver again and misses his second fairway of the day, sending this one right as well. Last week, he was plagued by a bit of the “lefts”, so at least he might have that figured out.
• Approach shot: With just over 145 yards left into the back left pin, Tiger hits his third green of the day and leaves himself about 18 feet for birdie to the right of the hole.
• On the green: Tiger’s putter is definitely feeling it today, as his birdie attempt also drops and Tiger moves to within a shot of early leader Adam Scott.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under (thru 4 holes)
• Elsewhere on the course: Playing with Tiger, Snedeker has opened with three consecutive pars, while Watney is 1 over.
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No. 12, par 4, 461 yards
From our Bradley S. Klein on No. 12: The only unbunkered hole on the course, with a drive across a tawny grassed slope that helps propel the ball sharply to the left. (Read Brad’s hole-by-hole breakdown here)
• Off the tee: Tiger takes driver for the first time today and hammers it up the right side of the fairway, leaving himself just over 170 yards into the right pin location.
• Approach shot: Tiger gets ahold of this second shot and overcooks it, sending it well off the back of the green and has about 40 feet to the hole. Wind is picking up, but that might have been a misclub.
• Around the green: Tiger hits a nice flop here, getting his third shot inside 4 feet, which he’ll have to save par.
• On the green: A nice up-and-down from Tiger here, as he raps in his par putt.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (thru 3 holes)
• Elsewhere on the course: Adam Scott is hot early, picking up three birdies in his first four holes to sit at 3 under and holdsd a one-shot lead over three others.
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No. 11, par 3, 231 yards
From our Bradley S. Klein on No. 11: Stepping onto this tee is like going from Motel 6 to the Grand Hotel. Wow! It’s dramatic in the extreme, thanks to a green sitting 20 feet above the tee, protected by a massive rift of sand that makes going for the right side (if the hole is cut there) pretty scary.
• Off the tee: Tiger goes right after the front pin location, putting the ball about 12 feet past the hole for a nice, early birdie look.
• On the green: And he takes advantage of his nice tee ball by draining his birdie attempt. After that nice lag putt at No. 1 and this birdie, Tiger’s putter seems warmed up early.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under (thru 2 holes)
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No. 10, par 4, 425 yards
Tiger is wearing a white hat, grey slacks and a mixed-greyish shirt as the temperatures just outside Boston are in the low 70s. The forecast calls for a high of 89 today with only a 10 percent chance of rain.
• Off the tee: Tiger takes a fairway wood off the first tee, and sends it up the right side of the fairway and it trickles into the right rough, but he should be able to attack the pin on the back left.
• Approach shot: Tiger manages to find the green, but leaves himself just over 90 feet to the hole. He almost couldn’t be any further from the hole from anywhere else on the green.
• On the green: A two-putt here would be a great score, and Tiger plays a fantastic birdie attempt, leaving himself less than 20 inches for par, which he knocks in.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even (thru 1 hole)
• • •
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