NORTON, MASSACHUSETTS - A late string of birdies helped Justin Rose to the lead and he held off fast closing Russell Knox and Abraham Ancer for a one-stroke advantage at the Dell Technologies Championship on Friday.
Englishman Rose, a certain pick for the European Ryder Cup team, birdied three of his final four holes for a six-under-par 65 in breezy conditions at TPC Boston as the FedEx Cup playoffs moved to the second round.
That temporarily gave him a two-stroke lead before Scot Knox and Mexican Ancer closed with matching 66s.
Americans Chris Kirk, Beau Hossler, Keegan Bradley and Gary Woodland were a stroke back while Tiger Woods endured an up-and-down round of 72 to sit seven shots off the lead.
“I putted beautifully today, I really did,” Woods told Golf Channel.
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson was in a group who shot 68s while FedEx Cup points leader Bryson DeChambeau shot a one-under 70, one better than Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy.
Hideki Matsuyama carded an even-par 71 to sit six shots behind Rose. Matsuyama had three birdies, a bogey and a double bogey, starting out on the back nine and closing out with a birdie on the par-4 ninth.
Satoshi Kodaira finished with a first-round 76.