Date: September 14, 2007

Clark outshines FedEx faves

South African Tim Clark has made a sensational start to the Tour Championship in Atlanta, while Australia&aposs Adam Scott is just four strokes off the pace despite his round being interrupted by rain delays and poor light. It was a disjointed beginning to the FedEx Cup decider, though, as the effects of Hurricane Humberto hit the southern course, forcing a long delay midway through the day that saw many of the 30 entrants not finish their Thursday round. One of the players that did make it to the clubhouse with a full round under his belt was leader Clark, who posted an eight-under 62 to take a one-stroke lead over Ireland&aposs Padraig Harrington (63) who also finished. Clark was in sensational form from the outset, recording a hat-trick of birdies from two to four before carding another three birdies and an eagle on his way back home despite the rain delay in the middle of his round. While all the talk leading into the tournament was about the three favourites for the overall FedEx Cup – Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker – Clark outshone them all as he leads the way over Harrington, with John Rollins (64) and Mark Calcavecchia in a tie for third, although Calcavecchia has two holes to be played on Friday morning. Aside from Woods, who is lurking menacingly at four-under after 11 holes, it was a day to forget for the favourites as Mickelson is seven strokes off the pace after 12 and Stricker at the bottom of the leaderboard at one over after 11. If Tiger wins the tournament, though, then no other player can over-take his points tally to win the Cup, but, if he fails to win, he is vulnerable to being challenged, primarily from Mickelson and Stricker if they can manage to lift their game over the final three rounds. For the Australian contingent, Scott is leading the way at four-under after completing 13 holes. Scott also looked good from the start, claiming four birdies so far to be alongside Woods in a tie for seventh. Geoff Ogilvy has also looked reasonably solid, posting three birdies and a bogey to be at two-under alongside Robert Allenby. Allenby, an early starter, was the only Aussie to have completed his round although he did not look good to start with having bogeyed the fifth hole. But, from then on, he posted four birdies and another bogey to finish six strokes behind Clark. Aaron Baddeley, though, is the furthest back of the Aussies despite being still in with a vague chance of winning the overall Cup. To do that Badds needs to win the Championship and hope that Tiger fails badly, but, despite being in impeccable form at Cog Hill last week, the Australian is only at one-under after 12 to be seven strokes adrift of Clark. All the players, though, look in for an early start on Friday morning, as the tee-off time has been moved forward four hours to 9:00 am (US time, 11:00pm AEST) as further rain is forecast as the hurricane system settles. First Round of the The Tour Championship: -8 Tim Clark 62 -7 Padraig Harrington 63 -6 John Rollins 64, Mark Calcavecchia* -5 Woody Austin*, Hunter Mahan* -4 Adam Scott* (Australia), Tiger Woods* -3 Stewart Cink 67, Camilo Villegas 67, Scott Verplank* -2 Robert Allenby (Australia) 68, Brett Wetterich 68, Ernie Els*, Sergio Garcia*, Charles Howell III*, Geoff Ogilvy* (Australia), Justin Rose* also: -1 Aaron Baddeley* (Australia) * players yet to complete round