Tim Clark Red-hot Tim Clark ties course record in suspended Tour Championship

No practice round, no problem for Tim Clark in the first round of the Tour Championship Thursday.

Playing in soft and damp conditions -- Clark shot an 8-under-par 62 to tie the course record at East Lake Golf Club in a round that included a three-hour weather delay. Because of the rain, Clark was one of just 10 players in the 30-player field to finish his round and left the course with a one-shot lead over Padraig Harrington.

"I've just sort of shown up and come to play, and I guess it worked out," Clark told reporters at the final PGA Tour FedEx Cup playoff event at Atlanta. "I didn't expect much, but I went out and got the speed of the greens really early and was able to make some putts."

Clark got his round going in the right direction with three consecutive birdies at Nos. 2-4. He then birdied holes 10, 12 and 14 and eagled No. 15 to get to 8 under with three to play. Despite such a stellar start, Clark said thoughts of shooting a PGA Tour record-tying score of 59 barely crossed his mind heading to the 16th tee.

"Unfortunately, they're not birdie holes," Clark said of East Lake's closing stretch. "You know, I was certainly trying, but I hit a few loose shots coming in. Overall I knew if I parred the last few holes I was going to be pretty happy with the round."

Despite a notice that was given to players last week warning them that hot temperatures had done significant damage to the course's greens, Clark said they actually played fairly well.

"I certainly was expecting a lot worse, for sure, after everything we had heard," Clark said. "They've done a good job to get them where they are right now.

"They're obviously not to the standard that we're used to on Tour, but with all they've gone through they've done a great job to get them where they are."

Harrington closed with a flurry as he birdied the final four holes to finish at 7-under 63. Despite the three-hour interruption to his round, Harrington said the break may have actually helped him.

"I kind of got a little bit frustrated through the front nine," Harrington told reporters. "I felt I hit good shots down pins and missed a couple of putts and this, that and the other and thought it could be a little bit better.

"I made two good birdies at 10 and 11 with 5-irons. But still, it just wasn't 100 percent, and it was probably good for me to go off the golf course and regroup. I felt a lot more -- a lot sharper when I came back out. Obviously I holed a few putts and hit some nice shots to make the birdies at the end. It was a good rain delay."

FedEx Cup points leader Tiger Woods was one of 20 players still out on the course when darkness set in. The World No. 1 player is tied for seventh place at 4 under through 11 holes.

"I made a couple putts," Woods told reporters. "I don't know how. I hit them up there and they bounced all over the place and somehow went in."

John Rollins and Mark Calcavecchia were tied for third at 6 under when their round was suspended. Hunter Mahan and Wood Austin were tied for fifth at 5 under and Adam Scott joined Woods at 4 under.

Woods is one of just six players mathematically alive to win the FedEx Cup and it's $10 million deferred prize. Steve Stricker, second in the FedEx Cup standings, was tied for 26th at 1 over through 11 holes. The other four other players still alive for the Cup -- Phil Mickelson, Aaron Baddeley, Rory Sabbatini and K.J. Choi were all tied for 19th at 1 under.

September 14, 2007

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