Tiger Woods scored his lowest opening round in two decades but could still only share the lead with Rory McIlroy at the BMW Championship in Philadelphia.
Woods’ eight-under-par 62 was his best opening round score since hitting 61 at the 1999 Byron Nelson Classic.
“To shoot 29 on the front nine helps. It helps a lot,” Woods said.
He said much of Thursday’s success was down to him digging out an old putter that he used in 13 of his 14 major wins more than a decade ago.
“I’ve been monkeying around with it at home in the back yard through the summer,” he said. “It just never felt right, but it feels good now. I’ve hit hundreds of millions of putts with that thing.”
At last week’s Dell Technologies Championship, Woods said he had “turned a corner” with his ball-striking in recent weeks.
“It’s just a matter of getting one little hot stretch with the putter,” he said.
Rickie Fowler, who played alongside Woods on Thursday, called it a “good, solid round of golf.”
“He hit some close, made a couple nice putts. It was fun to watch,” Fowler said.
McIlroy threatened to trump Woods with a round that included a career-best six birdies in a row before bogeying his 16th and 17th holes. The Northern Irishman recovered with a birdie on the last to ensure a share of the opening-round lead.
He hit 11 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens.
“It’s a golf course that just seems to fit my eye,” McIlroy said. “I like the greens. You can work the ball in off the slopes. You got to hit it pretty wild to start missing fairways. So if you get your ball in the short stuff, you can get it going.”
American Xander Schauffele sits one shot behind Woods and McIlroy.
The BMW Championship is the third of the four season-ending FedEx play-offs which start with 125 eligible players. The number of players is reduced at each event before the final 30 contest the decisive Tour Championship in two weeks’ time.