By Mark Lamport-Stokes
ATLANTA, Sept 20 (Reuters) - In-form Swede Henrik Stenson reeled off four birdies in his first nine holes to move five strokes clear midway through Friday's second round of the PGA Tour's season-ending Tour Championship.
With the FedExCup playoff title and the bonus jackpot of $10 million also on the line at East Lake Golf Club this week, Stenson tightened his grip on all those honours as he reached the turn in four-under 31, 10 under for the tournament.
Stenson's playing partner, Masters champion Adam Scott, was alone in second, with Americans Gary Woodland, Jordan Spieth and Roberto Castro a further stroke back in third at four under.
Long-hitting Woodland had completed 17 holes, rookie sensation Spieth 12 and Castro 11.
World number one Tiger Woods, the FedExCup points leader coming into this week, made an early charge up the leaderboard as he rebounded from an opening 73 but spectacularly collapsed over his last five holes to card a 71.
That left him at four-over 144, a distant 14 strokes off the pace.
"I'm still in contention," Woods told reporters after getting to five under after 13 holes before an ugly finish that included a triple, a double and a bogey.
"There's 36 holes. That's why we play. That's why we play four rounds. This is not a sprint. It's tournament golf. It's four rounds. It's a marathon. You've got to keep plugging around."
Once again, though, Stenson commanded the spotlight as he continued his bid for a second PGA Tour victory this season.
One stroke in front of the chasing pack overnight, the Swede made a sizzling birdie-birdie start on another sun-drenched day at East Lake.
Stenson, who won the Deutsche Bank Championship earlier this month, rolled in an eight-footer at the par-four first, and holed out from a similar distance at the par-three second to move four shots clear, Scott having bogeyed there.
Though Australian Scott briefly trimmed the deficit with a birdie at the third, Stenson regained a four-stroke advantage when he drained a 28-footer at the par-four fourth.
Stenson picked up his fourth shot of the round at the par-five ninth, where he was just short of the green in two before chipping up to four feet, to maintain control of the fourth and final FedExCup playoff event. (Editing by Frank Pingue)
- Sports & Recreation
- Henrik Stenson
- PGA Tour
- East Lake Golf Club