For the 18th, Woods got himself withing striking distance of an eagle at the par-5 finishing hole; and sure enough, he buried the 35-foot putt, eliciting a patented fist pump from Woods. along with raucous applause from the East Lake gallery.
It is the second straight event in succession Woods has shared the first-round lead after he and Rory McIlroy were tied at the top with 62s on day one of the BMW Championship in Philadelphia.
The Tour Championship, a 30-man event, re-pairs the field after each round, so Woods and Fowler will be playing together at East Lake Golf Club on Friday.
With play still underway, the duo hold a one-shot lead over Gary Woodland (66) at four under.
Woods hit 14 of 18 greens and made his only bogey at the first hole – where he three-putted. If you drive the ball in the rough, you can’t get the ball close here.
The victor of the FedEx Cup receives a $10 million bonus.
In order to win the FedEx Cup and receive the bonus money, Finau would need to win or finish in at least a tie for third and hope that Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Rose finish a few places behind him.
Rahm was three behind at 136, along with Billy Horschel and Patrick Cantlay, each with a tournament-best 65, and Justin Thomas, the defending FedEx Cup champion who hit tee shots all over East Lake and somehow managed a 69. “I didn’t really mishit a single shot today”.
Woods can only control his own game, and it’s hard find much fault.
“The nice thing was I won early in the year in Europe, ” said Paisley, a former University of Tennessee player.
“It would just enhance the year”, said the 38-year-old of potentially grabbing the silverware on Sunday. “Definitely happy for him”.
Fourteen-time major victor Woods came into the week with a slim chance of winning his third FedEx Cup, lying 20th in the standings and needing all the main contenders to falter. It’s great to have him as part of the team next week.
While the rankings formulas continued to play out, Fowler and Woods were the stories on the course Thursday.
Fowler was four shots back. He went on to win after shooting a 64 in the first round in 2007.
“I hadn’t played this tournament in five years, and some of the people said they haven’t been out here in five years”, Woods said.
“To come back and feel this kind of support, there have been some tough times where I had to dig out a round and the crowds have been so fantastic through the year trying to give me energy”.