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September 20, 2013

Stenson opens on fire

Golfer cards 64 in opening round of Tour Championship.

ATLANTA (AP) — Henrik Stenson looked like he couldn’t miss Thursday in the Tour Championship.

Tiger woods didn’t make a thing.

Stenson ran off five birdies over a six-hole stretch on the front nine at East Lake. His last birdie, a 5-iron from 223 yards to 4 feet on the par-3 18th hole, gave him a 6-under 64 and a one-shot lead over Masters champion Adam Scott.

Scott made six birdies in seven holes for a 29 on the back nine.

“First seven holes is probably as good a proximity to the hotel as I’ve ever had,” Stenson said. “Seven iron shots and made five birdies out of that.”

There were birdies galore on a warm, relatively calm afternoon at East Lake — except for Woods.

Woods missed a short birdie putt on his opening hole that set the tone for the day. He was the only player in the 30-man field to go without a birdie. On the par 5s, Woods three-putted for par on No. 9 and missed a putt just inside 10 feet on No. 15.

It was only the seventh time in his PGA Tour career — and third time at East Lake — that he went an entire round without a birdie. Woods shot a 73, matching his highest opening round of the year on the PGA Tour. He walked past reporters without comment.

Stenson, the No. 2 seed and the hottest player in golf over the last three months, and Scott (No. 3) only have to win the Tour Championship to capture the FedEx Cup and the $10 million prize.

Steve Stricker rallied late with three straight birdies for a 66, tied with Billy Horschel.

Stenson began his big run with four straight tournaments in the top 3 — including two majors and a World Golf Championship — and then won the Deutsche Bank Championship. But he was coming off a mediocre performance in the BMW Championship last week that left him so angry he smashed and broke his driver on the final hole, and then smashed up a locker at Conway Farms.

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