Stenson shines in Atlanta

9/20/2013 12:45:13 AM
Henrik Stenson  (Getty Images)
Henrik Stenson (Getty Images)
Sweden's Henrik Stenson continued his FedEx Cup run by claiming the lead in the first round of the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

Stenson carded a six under par 64 at East Lake to lead the 30-man field aiming to win the first prize of $1,400,000 and the $10,000,000 bonus for winning the FedEx Cup.

The 37 year old outscored playing partner Tiger Woods by nine shots, the FedEx Cup points leader struggling to a three over 73, his first birdie-free round since the 2010 US Open leaving him in 29th place.

Stenson holed from seven feet at the second, eight inches on the fourth and four feet on the fifth, before a brilliant tee shot on the par three sixth left him with another tap-in birdie.

The World Number Six then holed from eight feet on the seventh to make it four birdies in succession and reached six under with another birdie on the par five 15th.

His only bogey of the day came on the 16th, but another superb iron shot on the par three 18th set up a closing birdie to ensure he finished one shot ahead of Masters Tournament champion Adam Scott, who had fired six birdies in seven holes from the tenth.

Stenson's performance was in stark contrast to the end of his rain-delayed final round in the BMW Championship on Monday, when he took out his frustrations at a closing 74 on his driver, smacking it so hard on the ground on the 18th that its head flew off.

Stenson is one of five players who control their own destiny in Atlanta, with Woods, Scott, Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar also knowing they will claim the massive bonus should they win the Tour Championship.

Johnson and Kuchar both shot rounds of 69 to lie one under, one shot behind an eight-strong group containing Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose.

"I didn't feel that great out there but to be able to shoot a couple under on this difficult course, I am happy with that," Garcia said. 

"I've been playing a lot this summer and am kind of feeling it and struggling to get the right amount of energy out there."

Stenson, who this summer has finished second in The Open Championship and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, third in the US PGA Championship and won the Deutsche Bank Championship, told reporters: "I stayed very patient today and kept my head on - both on me and on my driver."

As for his front nine of 30, Stenson said: "That stretch from one to seven is as good as I can hit it."