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Woods, who is in the best shape to capture the FedEx Cup as the No. 1 seed, could have used some help early in the round. As O'Hair, Harrington and Cink were setting an early pace, Woods was headed in the wrong direction by failing to save par from a bunker on the par-3 sixth, and making bogey on the eighth from the rough to go 1 over.
He was six shots behind at one point, then closed quickly.
"This golf course, you have to be very patient, especially with greens this firm," Woods said. "It's really hard to get the ball close unless you drive the ball in the fairway and have a short iron in."
U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover had a 68, and only three other players managed to break par -- Retief Goosen, Steve Marino and Dustin Johnson, who were at 69. Stricker, the No. 2 seed, was among those at 70.
It was hard to believe that a course that was closed Monday and part of Tuesday because of 20 inches of rain over the past week could deliver some of the firmest greens on tour this year. Attribute that to a sub-air system on the greens installed last year, and a hot sun that left players reaching for towels to wipe sweat off their brow.
"The course was playing fairly long, and then the greens are just incredibly firm, probably the most firm we've played all year," O'Hair said. "Maybe The Players Championship is a close second. Kind of ironic since we got so much rain."
O'Hair was sporty from the rough, too. He made his first birdie with a wedge out of the rough on No. 3 that stopped a foot away, then made another birdie at No. 12 under similar circumstances, from the right rough with just enough spin to stop 2 feet from the hole.
Cink narrowly made the 30-man field at No. 26 and the scenarios are too many to count for him to win the FedEx Cup. All he cared about Thursday was breaking par, like so many other players.
"Under par ... the golf course, considering all that rain we had, it's really dried out, and the greens are like bricks," he said. "You have to be very smart coming into the greens to give yourself any kind of aggressive birdies."
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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