Tiger trails Rose by seven after first round at TPC Boston
A LATE string of birdies has helped Justin Rose to a one-stroke lead over fast-closing Russell Knox and Abraham Ancer in the opening round of the Dell Technologies Championship.
Englishman Rose birdied three of his final four holes for a six-under 65 in breezy conditions at TPC Boston as the FedEx Cup play-offs moved to the second round.
That temporarily gave him a two-stroke lead on Friday, local time, before Scotland's Knox and Mexican Ancer closed with matching 66s.
Americans Chris Kirk, Beau Hossler, Keegan Bradley and Gary Woodland were a stroke back, while Tiger Woods endured an up-and-down round of 72 to sit seven shots off the lead.
World No.1 Dustin Johnson was in a group who shot 68s, which included Australia's Marc Leishman, while FedEx Cup points leader Bryson DeChambeau shot a one-under 70, one better than Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy.
Leishman's compatriots Cameron Smith and Adam Scott carded rounds of 69 and 71 respectively to sit in ties for 16th and 42nd respectively. Five bogeys left fellow Aussie Jason Day well off the pace with a 76.
Englishman Rose missed the cut at last week's Northern Trust but his steady play soon had him on top.
He backed up a pair of birdies on the front nine with four more in his final nine for a bogey-free round.
"I guess just keeping the card clean made the birdies really count for something," Rose said.
"I looked at the pins last night and I thought there was an opportunity to make some birdies."
Knox also missed last week's cut but surged from even par after his second bogey of the day at the 12th to collect three birdies, and an eagle at the par-four 15th, in six holes coming home.
Ancer, playing the back nine first, sank four birdies in his last six holes to stay bogey-free.
Woods had trouble from the start.
The 14-time major champion picked up a bogey at his first hole, the 10th, and racked up two more for a three-bogey start before finally getting a birdie on the board at his eighth hole.
He wound up with four bogeys and three birdies but was not blaming his putting for the shots he dropped.
"I putted beautifully today, I really did," Woods, who brought out a new putter, told the Golf Channel.
But other parts of his game let him down.
"When I did miss it, I missed it in bad spots and didn't have very good angles," Woods said.
"Couldn't quite get the momentum going. The front side, my back nine, thought if I felt momentum going, I could have finished under par today."
Billy Horschel, the 2014 FedEx Cup champion, withdrew with sinus problems.