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Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy Put On Show at BMW

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, the two most identifiable golfers on the planet, played out-of-this-world golf in the first round of the BMW Championship Thursday, delighting the huge gallery that followed the group through the vast Crooked Stick Golf Club course in Carmel, Indiana.

The two combined for 16 birdies and an eagle in a spectacular display of booming drives, exquisite ball-striking and pinpoint putting.

“Rory and I played beautifully,” Woods said simply.  And he was right.

Woods birdied half of the 18 holes on a course that is one of the longest on the PGA Tour at 7,516 yards. His only blemishes were bogeys No. 4 and 14, both par 4s. He opened with successive birdies and generally showed the form that made him golf’s only $100-million career-earner. His 7-under 65 left him one shot off the lead.

Meanwhile, McIlroy, who won the PGA Championship and followed it up with the Deutsch Bank title last week, was even better.

The No. 1-ranked player in the world (Woods is ranked third) made up for a bogey on the par 3 No. 13 with an eagle on the par 5 15th.

McIlroy finished with an eight-under 64 and a share of the lead with Bo Van Pelt and Webb Simpson.

Starting on the 10th tee, Woods birdied five of his first seven holes en route to a front-nine 32. He made four more birdies on his final nine holes, punctuated by a 30-foot birdie putt from the fringe on the par-5 ninth hole that drew a roar from the packed stands.

“I was very fortunate to post the number that I shot,” he said.

McIlroy, 23, answered Woods’s long putt on the final hole by drilling a five-foot birdie putt of his own to match Simpson and Van Pelt for the day’s low round.

“I’m not going out there trying to beat Tiger or anyone else,” McIlroy said of his pairing with Woods. “I just try to shoot the best score possible.”

Playing alongside Woods and McIlroy, Nick Watney shot a two-under 70, which was a solid round but seemed pedestrian alongside Woods and McIlroy’s fireworks.

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