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Tiger Woods Tied Atop Tour Championship Leaderboard After Eagle to End Round 1

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 20, 2018

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 20:  Tiger Woods of the United States reacts to his shot from the eighth tee during the first round of the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club on September 20, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Tiger Woods opened the Tour Championship with a five-under 65 on Thursday atย East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

As he entered the clubhouse, Woods had a share of first place with Rickie Fowler. The 14-time major champion closed his first round with a flourish, sinking a 27-foot eagle putt on No. 18.ย 

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

TIGER FOR EAGLE. He now shares the lead ๐Ÿ‘€ (via @PGATOUR) https://t.co/Qy1yVWijna

Putting is often the biggest indicator as to Woods' overall performance. He's no longer a physical marvel relative to his PGA Tour colleagues, so he has to rely even more so on his short game.

When he's in a groove on the green, Woods is a threat to win any tournament in which he's playing. However, he can quickly tumble down the leaderboard when things aren't working with his putter.

Woods didn't get off to a great start, three-putting for a bogey on the first hole. That didn't prove to foreshadow how the rest of his day unfolded, though.ย According toย PGATour.com, He gained 1.244 putting strokes Thursday, which ranked fifth in the Tour Championship.

Back-to-back birdies on the fifth and sixth holes got Woods under par.

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

๐Ÿฆ-๐Ÿฆ ๐Ÿ… https://t.co/wlUov7vPAq

It looked like Woods was headed back to even par on No. 7 when his tee shot sailed well right of the fairway and into the trees. Somehow, he escaped and reached the green with his second shot to set up a par.

PGA TOUR @PGATOUR

From behind the tree. Where did you expect it to end up? #QuickHits https://t.co/p7KiM1aQEM

Woods moved to three under with birdies on the 12th and 14th holes before the eagle on No. 18 drew loud cheers from the Atlanta crowd.

The 42-year-old still has a long way to go to capture his first title of the 2018 PGA Tour season, and he may not be in first place by the time the first round concludes. Still, it's impossible to ignore how much he has raised his game of late.

Shane Bacon @shanebacon

Tiger Woods: 22-under par his last five rounds.

Ryan Lavner @RyanLavnerGC

Tigerโ€™s scoring average over his past 16 rounds: 67.5 ๐Ÿ‘€

The Action Network's Jason Sobel added further perspective on how far Woods has come:

Jason Sobel @JasonSobelTAN

Tiger Woods, one year ago this week: โ€œMy timetable is based on what my surgeon said. As I alluded to last week, I'm hitting 60-yard shots [but] I'm hitting it really straight.โ€

Regardless of whether he goes on to win the Tour Championship, simply having him in contention through the weekend will be enough to satisfy fans.

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