- It's Woods' lowest score on the PGA Tour since a 61 at the 2013 Bridgestone Invitational.
Eventually, there was going to be a day when Tiger Woods hit his fairways, was dialed in with his irons and holed the mid-length putts necessary to shoot a low-low round.
That day was today at Aronimink Golf Club, where Tiger shot an eight-under 62 to open the BMW Championship, the penultimate FedEx Cup playoff event. It's his lowest round in competition since shooting 61 in the second round of the 2013 Bridgestone Invitational. It's the fifth 62 of his career and just one shot of his career-low of 61, which he has managed four times.
He was near the lead when he finished his round, but many of the other 69 players in the field—only the top 70 in the FedEx Cup standings qualified for this event—were shooting similarly impressive scores on an immaculate day for scoring.
Two days after he was selected by Jim Furyk as a Ryder Cup captain's pick, Woods decided to put his trusty Scotty Cameron back in the bag after he'd employed two other Taylormade flatsticks in play recently. The switch paid off from his very first hole of the day—the 10th, as Woods teed off with Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth off the back nine— when Woods poured a 20-footer for birdie right in the center.
"It was nice to make one like that up the hill to get things going," Woods told Golf Channel after the round.
"It felt nice," Woods said of having the Scotty back in the bag. "My body remembered how it felt, how it swings. I was just letting it rip on the greens."
From then on, it was clear Woods was feeling it on a steamy day just outside Philadelphia. He added birdies at 12 and 13 before kicking the round into another gear with a textbook birdie at the par-5 16th. A birdie at 18 saw him turn in six-under 29, the first time he's broken 30 for nine holes on the PGA Tour since 2007.
Woods birdied the first hole to get to seven under through 10 holes, then made five straight pars before feathering a wedge to inside a foot on No. 7.
Okay this is getting serious.— Daniel Rapaport (@Daniel_Rapaport) September 6, 2018
Tiger is now -8 with two holes left, one of which is a par 5. Aronimink is a par 70.
Tiger's lowest round EVER on the PGA Tour is 61. Needs to play the last two in just one under to equal that. pic.twitter.com/vG4jOiubpr
After a 15-minute wait on the tee at the difficult par-3 No. 8—a 246-yarder that has played as the third-hardest par 3 on the PGA Tour since 2011—Woods tugged a 4-iron long and left, leading to an awkward chip and, eventually, his first bogey of the day. It was the only time he had more than a tap-in for par.
With his shirt drenched in sweat, Woods found the left rough off the tee on the 600-yard par-5 9th but muscled a 3-wood just short of the green with his second. From there, he opted to go with putter and came up about six feet short before pouring in one final birdie.
The stats were predictably impressive: 16 of 18 greens, 9 of 14 fairways, 27 putts, seven birdies, one eagle and the lone bogey.
Woods, Spieth and Fowler were scheduled to go off in their second round at 12:25 p.m. local time, but tee times have been moved up to between 7-9 a.m. in anticipation of a forecasted storm.
Woods needs to finish in the mid-30s this week to qualify for next week's Tour Championship at East Lake, where the top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings will compete and where the season-long points race champion will be named. Thursday's round will shift his focus from that goal to another: notching his 80th PGA Tour victory and first since 2013.