Atlanta, Georgia (AP) — Tiger Woods took a one-shot lead in the Tour
Championship on Friday, missing a chance to build a more comfortable
cushion heading into the weekend.
A closing bogey gave Woods a two-under 68 at East Lake, and a five-under total of 135.
He was one shot in front of Ireland's Padraig Harrington (69) and American Sean O'Hair (70).
South African Ernie Els was a further shot back on 137 after a 66 that included five birdies in his last 10 holes.
Woods looked capable of stretching his lead, but missed eagle and birdie opportunities coming in.
Despite being irked by the missed putts, Woods said his overall round was satisfactory.
"The day as a whole was a good day," Woods said. "I shot under par, I got myself ... in the lead."
Woods took control with three-straight birdies from the seventh.
maintained his momentum with a great par save at 13, where he was in a
bunker, then in a tough lie in the rough. He chipped to 20 feet, and
rolled in a par putt.
At the par-five 15th his eagle attempt
kissed the left lip of the hole and he settled for a birdie. At 16 he
had a birdie putt of about four feet and again burned the left edge.
"Fifteen is okay, that's fine, that happens. Sixteen was just a bad putt," Woods said.
At the par-three 18th, Woods hit a four-iron that landed left of the green against the grandstand en route to bogey.
so, Woods was perfectly poised to capture the US PGA Tour's FedEx Cup
series title and the 10 million-dollar bonus that goes with it.
of the other top five seeds - who can all claim the series title with a
tournament victory on Sunday - were among the top 10 at the halfway
Harrington would have to win the Tour Championship and
also have Woods finish in at best a two-way tie for second, while
O'Hair would have to win and have Woods finish in at best a three-way
tie for second.
O'Hair said there was no point agonizing over the possible scenarios that could deliver the 10 million-dollar bonus.
Instead he was focusing on one thing - winning the tournament.
I win this golf tournament and Tiger finishes second ... I'm going to
be throwing a big party and jumping with joy," O'Hair said. "If I don't
win the 10 million bucks, I should have played better.
"A win is
a win," he said. "Let's face it, I've got to win this golf tournament
to win the 10 million dollars. If I do my job, that's all I can do."
will be paired Saturday with Harrington, who missed a six-footer to
save par at 14 and a five-foot birdie opportunity at 17.
good position as regards to the tournament, probably not the best
position as regards to the FedEx Cup," Harrington said. "It's a little
bit out of my control. But I'm looking forward to the weekend. I left a
few shots out there toward the end, but overall, I knew there was
another 36 holes to play."