For one day at least, order has been restored to the golf universe: Tiger Woods is atop the leader board of a significant tournament.
Taking advantage of the receptive fairways and greens at the damp Ridgestone Country Club, Woods fired a 6-under 65, good for a share of the lead alongside Vaughn Taylor. Woods got off to a particularly hot start after birdieing four of the first seven holes, before slowing down a bit. Woods finished with a flurry, however, playing the final fives holes at 3-under. Interestingly, Woods did all of his damage despite hardly touching his driver; instead he used his fairway woods and irons off the tees, resulting in few missed fairways and a handful of birdie opportunities. It was Woods' best single round since returning to golf last April.
Taylor, meanwhile, got off to a slow start after playing the first three holes at 1-over, including a miserable bogey on the par-three third hole, before playing the rest of his round bogey-free. Taylor's seven birdies brought him to 6-under and tied for the lead with Woods, a shot ahead of Ryan Palmer and Brian Gay.
Phil Mickelson, currently in fourth place in the FedEx Cup standings, is even on the day through five holes.
Among other notables, FedEx Cup leaders Ernie Els and Steve Stricker finished at even and 1-under respectively. While the pair are a good bit off the lead and have to be disappointed given how mild the conditions were on Thursday, it's still much better than Jim Furyk, who was disqualified from the tournament after sleeping in and missing his tee time for the Barclay's pro-am event by one minute on Wednesday. Furyk is currently in third place overall in the FedEx Cup standings, though he's expected to fall to the 7-10 range after the Barclays.