Padraig Harrington shot a 7-under 64 to take a one-stroke lead yesterday at the U.S. PGA Tour’s Barclays tournament at the Bethpage Black course in Farmingdale, New York, while Tiger Woods sits four shots back.
Woods, playing in a group with PGA Championship winner Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, had four birdies and one bogey to finish at 3 under par. McIlroy shot a 2-under 69.
“I didn’t quite hit the ball as well as I’d like, I’m going to do some work this afternoon to work on a couple things,” Woods said yesterday after the round. “I’m very pleased with how I putted.”
Harrington, 40, of Ireland, was 6 under on the final nine holes, including four consecutive birdies. Winner of the British Open in 2007-08 and the PGA in 2008, he and McIlroy are the only multiple winners in the last 22 major golf tournaments.
Americans Nick Watney and Brian Harman trail Harrington by one stroke. Gary Christian of England bogeyed the 18th hole to fall to 5 under and into a tie with Sergio Garcia of Spain and Americans Pat Perez and Jimmy Walker two strokes behind the leader.
The Barclays tournament is the first in the four-event FedExCup playoff, which features a $10 million bonus for the champion. The field will be trimmed to the top 100 golfers in the point standings heading into next week’s event.
Scores rose in the afternoon, with Walker the only player in the second group of tee times to finish within two strokes of Harrington. Rickie Fowler, who teed off at 12:44 p.m. local time, said the course played harder as the day progressed.
“I think the greens were soft this morning and maybe guys could get at those pins, but this afternoon I thought it proved really tough to get it going low,” Fowler said on the PGA website.
Woods and McIlroy were the tournament’s co-favorites heading into play yesterday, with 8-1 odds to win. Woods won the first PGA tour event held at the Bethpage State Park course, the 2002 U.S. Open. Lucas Glover, who isn’t in the field this week, won when the Open returned in 2009.
Phil Mickelson is tied with Woods at 3 under. They are joined by a group of 10 other golfers, including former major champions Zach Johnson, Vijay Singh and Ernie Els, who won the British Open last month.