- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 5, 2009

NORTON, Mass. | Steve Stricker birdied his first two holes, and Tiger Woods could see what was coming. Walking to the next tee Friday at TPC Boston, Woods said to his caddie, “He’s going to shoot 62.”

Woods’ instincts were off by one: Stricker shot 63.

With superb command of his driver and his typical dose of great putting, Stricker ran off five straight birdies and only once came close to a bogey to share the first-round lead with Jim Furyk in the Deutsche Bank Championship.

Furyk, without a victory in more than two years, shot 8 under in the afternoon. He had five birdies in his opening six holes, settled in for a diet of pars, then closed with consecutive birdies for his lowest round of the year.

They were two shots clear of a group that included Masters champion Angel Cabrera, Justin Leonard, Retief Goosen and Scott Verplank, who had dinner with Stricker on Thursday night and had a minor bout of food poisoning.

Stricker felt fine, and looked even better.

“To get off to a birdie-birdie start just kind of got the day started in the right direction,” Stricker said.

In a reversal, it was Woods who had the best seat for a great round. The world’s No. 1 player hit ordinary shots to the green, hit one tee shot into the bushes for a penalty shot and failed to convert five birdie chances he had inside 12 feet. He wound up with a 70.

“I didn’t really do much of anything positive today,” Woods said. “I didn’t feel good over any shot today. Didn’t drive it very good, hit my irons worse and didn’t make any putts. Other than that, it was a good day.”

The PGA Tour playoffs seem to bring out the best in Stricker. This was the 26th time in 37 rounds during the FedEx Cup playoffs that he shot in the 60s, and this one included a pair of birdie putts inside 7 feet that he missed.

Sluman gets an edge

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. | Defending champion Jeff Sluman shot a bogey-free 7-under 65 at Del Monte Golf Course to take a one-stroke lead on Loren Roberts and Olin Browne in the Champions Tour’s First Tee Open.

Sluman has five top-10 finishes this season but hasn’t won since this event last year. A six-winner on the PGA Tour, he’s 15th on the 50-and-over tour’s money list with $722,964.

Kim has record round

PRIDDIS, Alberta | Song-Hee Kim shot a tournament-record 9-under 62 for a share of the second-round lead in the Canadian Women’s Open with Suzann Pettersen.

Pettersen, coming off a playoff loss to M.J. Hur last week in the Safeway Classic, shot a 68 to match Kim at 9 under at Priddis Greens.

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