Atlanta — Vijay Singh wasn't sure his 5-wood could reach the green on the par-3 18th hole at East Lake Golf Club. His goal was to hit it straight, hit it hard and hope.
"It went dead straight, hard and stuck," Singh said Thursday.
The ball finished 8 inches from the cup for a rare birdie on the 232-yard closing hole, a 5-under 65 and a share of the lead with Steve Lowery in the Tour Championship.
He could have used that kind of result four years ago. When the Tour Championship first came to East Lake in 1998, the tournament was his to win. Instead, Singh's 3-iron on the final hole bounced over the green and into the rough, leading to a bogey. He lost to Hal Sutton on the first playoff hole.
On Thursday, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, Nos. 1 and 2 in the world and on the PGA Tour money list, played together for the first time this year. Woods shot 71, the first time in 21 rounds he failed to shoot par or better.
Mickelson had four birdies and four bogeys in an even-par 70.
Charles Howell III had a 66 in his Tour Championship debut. He is one of 10 golfers who have never played in the PGA's season-ending event for the top 30 players.