Through 14 holes on Friday morning, Tiger Woods looked like a man on a mission to reach golf's holy grail. Starting on the back nine at the Deutsche Bank Championship, Woods opened with three birdies in his first nine holes to make the turn in 3-under 32 -- a respectable score that put him in contention early in the tournament.
We've seen Woods get in the mix early at events this year, but what he did over his final nine holes on Friday was nothing short of spectacular. Following a birdie on the par-5 18th, Woods began a stretch of five holes that saw him record five straight birdies (giving him six straight on his card).
After struggling with his short game for much for the season, Woods put on a clinic for those in attendance at TPC Boston, rolling in a couple birdie putts from 12 feet and another from 15 feet, while also throwing darts at the pin that put him on "59 Watch" when he birdied the par-4 fifth to go to 8-under with four holes left in his round.
Woods failed to record a birdie over the last four holes and took bogey on his 18th hole, but considering the 14-time major winner is a notoriously slow starter, Friday's opening-round 7-under 64 was a welcomed change for Woods, who spent much of last week battling a back injury that saw him fire his worst round of the year (5-over 76) during the final round of the Barclays.
First-round leads don't mean much in the grand scheme of things, but assuming Woods' 64 holds up, it would be the first time since the 2010 Barclays that he's held the lead after the opening round.
With birdies to be had at TPC Boston, Woods will no doubt have to go low on Saturday to hang with the leaders, and after one round, it appears as if he's up to the challenge of winning his fourth tournament of the year.
But if we've learned anything from watching him over the last year, it's that we shouldn't get overly excited about a solid round early in the week. What really matters at this point is how he plays on the weekend.
Woods has been like night and day this year when it comes to the opening 36 holes and the 36 holes that really matter on the weekend. He's failed to record an under-par round in his last four weekend rounds, a troubling stat that proves he's still struggling to close on a consistent basis.
That's why it's difficult to jump up and down, even after a stellar 64. Woods hit almost 90 percent of his greens in regulation, hit more than 70 percent of his fairways and only needed 28 putts to get round.
But remember: It's only the first round. A lot can happen between now and then, and Woods' game has been known to go south in a hurry after a great round. Regardless, it's the kind of round he can build on over the next three days.