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  • Jason Getz Atlanta Journal-Constitution Henrik Stenson, who can win the $10 million FedEx Cup playoff bonus if he wins the PGA Tour Championship, if off to a strong start.

  • Jason Getz Atlanta Journal-Constitution Tiger Woods, who didn't make a birdie in a round for the first time since the 2010 U.S. Open, is 29th in the 30-man field after a 73.

Stenson (64) funnels his aggression

Published: Friday, Sep. 20, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 6C
Last Modified: Friday, Sep. 20, 2013 - 3:04 pm

ATLANTA – Playing alongside Tiger Woods didn't faze him. The prospect of winning more than $10 million seemed to trouble him not one whit. On Thursday at the PGA Tour Championship, Henrik Stenson was a man at peace, content to blow the doors off East Lake rather than rip any of them off their hinges inside the Tudor clubhouse.

The sometimes tempestuous chap was the model of cool efficiency, his 6-under-par 64 good enough for the first-round lead.

Right behind him, with a 65, was a fellow occupant of the FedEx Cup penthouse, Adam Scott. They are two of the top five in FedEx Cup points who can outright win the $10 million playoff bonus with a victory this week. For fans of the old-fashioned shootout, they will be conveniently paired in the final twosome today.

Two others of the favored five – Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar – shot 69.

And then, there was Tiger Woods. Oh, dear. You had as many birdies Thursday at East Lake as he did.

For the first time since the 2010 U.S. Open, Woods recorded not a single birdie in a round. He was the only player in the field not to post at least one. The top-seeded player begins today in 29th place in a 30-man tournament after a 73.

Woods had no comment afterward. At least his playing partner was around to fill in some gaps.

"Obviously frustrating on the greens. I wouldn't say he was playing bad, but it was one of those days. Missed a couple times in the wrong spot and made three bogeys," Stenson said. "I mean, if you're not making any birdies, then it's going to be a bad day, simple as that."

For as well as Stenson has played of late – he won the second playoff event three weeks ago and contended at both the British Open and PGA Championship – he has gotten more notice for his temperament.

One can go back to a most curious YouTube video from the 2011 Dubai tournament showing Stenson chunking a chip and then flipping the club over his head into the greenside water hazard. And, there's water in Dubai? Much more recently, in fact Monday, Stenson was so troubled by his final round at the BMW Championships that after a wayward drive on 18 he dispatched the misbehaving club with one mighty smash to the turf. Later, out of public view, he tore the door off his clubhouse locker.

With that attitude and his well-muscled frame, Stenson is a waste of a perfectly good blocking tight end.

"It was a good turnaround mentally," Stenson said of his round Thursday. "I stayed very levelheaded, kept my head on, both on myself and my driver."

European Tour in Turin, Italy – Nicolas Colsaerts, Ricardo Gonzalez and Maximilian Kieffer shot 7-under 65s to share the first-round lead in the Italian Open.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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