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December 2 — For the first time in over a year, Tiger Woods has the outright lead in a golf tournament. Woods fired an opening 7-under 65 Thursday to take a one-shot lead over U.S. Open winner Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy at the Chevron World Challenge.
Woods played almost flawlessly, posting his only bogey of the day on the 18th hole after popping up his drive. He had to negotiate a pitch shot from the trees and settled for two putts from 50 feet away.
Not committed. “It was a lack of commitment,” Woods told Golf Channel after his tee shot on 18 at Sherwood Country Club. “I couldn’t really commit to hitting a low fade off the tee there and hit a pop-up.”
The 65 matches Woods’ best score of the 2010 season. He posted 65s in the opening round of The Barclays tourney in August and another 65 in the second round of the Boston’s Deutsche Bank Championship a week later.
A victory at the last tourney of the season would be the first for the world’s No. 2 golfer, who last posted a “W” the 2009. He did share the first-round lead at the 2010 Barclays.
Woods is teeing it up in the tourney he hosts for the first time in three years. McDowell, in fact, subbed last year for Woods, who withdrew after his infamous Thanksgiving night car accident.
No. 1 up for grabs. Woods, by the way, could regain golf’s top spot if he wins this week and reigning No. 1 Lee Westwood finishes no better than third at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa. At 4-under through one round, Westwood was in third place at 4-under, two shots back of leader Padraig Harrington.
Both golfers are playing in limited-field events.
(Emily Kay is a regular contributor to New England Golf Monthly. Check her out on the Waggle Room, Boston Golf Examiner, and National Golf Examiner websites.)

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