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Low Scores Dominate at TPC Boston


Seung-Yul Noh fired a 9-under 62 to take the opening-round lead in the $8 million Deutsche Bank Championship. The second in the four-tournament FedEx Cup Playoffs began Friday at TPC Boston in Norton, Mass.

Noh, a 21-year-old from South Korea who's won twice on the Asian Tour and once in Europe, carded five birdies on the front nine - including four straight on Nos. 4-7 - and four more on the back for a one-stroke lead over American Chris Kirk. Noh's 62 was one stroke off the course record held by Vijay Singh and Mike Weir.

Noh entered the tournament ranked 54th in FedEx Cup points; the top-70 players at the end of the Deutsche Bank Championship move on to the third stop in the Playoffs, next week's BMW Championship at Crooked Stick in Indiana.

"Swing, putting - everything great today," Noh told PGATour.com. "So, happy for today."

Tied for third after shooting 64s are Ryan Moore, Tiger Woods and Jeff Overton. Moore played in the same group as Noh and was near the top of the leaderboard most of the day thanks to six birdies on the front nine and two more - against a bogey - on the home half. "It's always nice to be playing next to another guy making putts," the Tacoma, Wash., native said of Noh. "You're seeing them go in, kind of makes that hole a little bigger sometimes."

Overton started slowly with two birdies on the front side and was treading water with a bogey and par on his first two holes at the start of the back. But the 29-year-old suddenly got going, firing six birdies over his final seven holes.

The Indiana native is hoping to qualify for the BMW in his home state. "It's a big motivation," he said of the chance to play at Crooked Stick. "The last time I think there was a tournament in Indiana, PGA event, was when Daly won it. Was that '91 or something? You know, I played Crooked Stick a bunch, and in college we played it, and every year I seem like I always pop up there a few times a year because it's an awesome place, spent a little time there the last couple months, and I'm constantly getting a lot of great text messages and people say, hey, we're really excited to see you at Crooked Stick, just the whole Hoosier nation.

"It's just going to be fun if I can get into the event. Starting last night, I was like, I'm going to do just a little mind work and think about my round and really focus on making sure I got off to a good start this week, because I know I need to have a good finish to get there. It would just mean a whole lot if I could get into that tournament."

Woods, who started in the morning off the 10th tee, was atop the leaderboard most of the day until Noh and Kirk came in. He had three birdies on his front side then had five straight birdies to open his back. The only blemish on Woods' card was a bogey on his last (the par-4 ninth).

Despite how his round ended, Woods was pleased with his performance Friday. "I played really well today," he told reporters. "I hit a lot of good shots, and on top of that I putted well at the same time. It was a nice little combination. Had two really sweet little flop shots there today, which was nice, one at 12 and one at four. The one at 4 was - that was a good one (smiling), and overall I was very pleased with the way I played today and controlled it, and then the wind started picking up, and I still hit really good shots."

Sharing sixth after 65s are No. 1-ranked Rory McIlroy and Bryce Molder, while another stroke back are John Senden and Louis Oosthuizen.

After a bogey on the first hole, the 23-year-old McIlroy settled down, carding seven birdies the rest of the way despite hitting only four fairways and 61 percent of the greens in regulation. But he needed only 24 putts to salvage a decent round.

"I definitely didn't drive the ball the way I wanted to," said the Northern Irishman. "I drove it great last week at Bethpage and didn't putt so well but this week it seems like I didn't drive it so good today but putted well. If I just hit a few more fairways tomorrow, then hopefully, that'll be the key to another good round."

Tied for 10th after 67s are Ian Poulter, Luke Donald, Dustin Johnson, Charley Hoffman, Jonas Blixt, David Hearn and Jason Dufner. No. 2-ranked Donald was his usual accurate self off the tee but struggled a bit on TPC Boston's greens, where he needed 28 putts.

"My only bogeys today were three putts," said the Englishman. "The one on eight, I was thinking that one was in the hole, and it just did a 360 on me. I'm not sure what happened there. Yeah, I'm really pleased actually the way I played. I didn't hit the ball very well yesterday. I worked on the range after the pro am. Not that I hit it that great in pro-ams usually anyway, but I just wasn't very comfortable with it, and I worked on the range, took a couple videos and changed a couple little things, and it seemed to click. Yeah, I played nice and tidy golf today, and that was really encouraging."

Six back of Noh are Charl Schwartzel, D.A. Points, Bud Cauley, Lee Westwood, Aaron Baddeley, Jason Day, John Merrick, Kevin Stadler, Phil Mickelson and Hunter Mahan.

Other scores included a 71 by 2011 FedEx Cup champion and a 72 by the winner of last week's Barclays, Nick Watney, who led the points' race entering the Deutsche Bank Championship. Starting on the 10th tee, Watney played his front nine in 1-over 36. On his back nine he interspersed three bogeys with an eagle - on the par-5 second - and a birdie for another 36.

Among those having a tough day were major champions Graeme McDowell (74), Bubba Watson (75) and Ben Curtis (79).

After shooting a 9-over 80, Spencer Levin withdrew, citing personal reasons. Levin had sat out the past two weeks due to the sudden death of his step-brother, Blake Wiklund. Since he ranked 66th entering the week, the Sacramento native will not advance to the BMW.

For all the scores, visit http://www.pgatour.com/r/leaderboard.