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Zach Johnson & Jason Day lead with 63s

Zach Johnson and Jason Day beat the weather to claim a share of the lead Friday at the Deutsche Bank Championship.

Tiger Woods wasn’t so lucky, and faces missing the cut.

Johnson strengthened his Ryder Cup case Friday by rolling in putts from everywhere in easy scoring conditions prior to the arrival of the fringes of Hurricane Earl, giving him an 8-under 63 and a share of the lead with Day.

Woods had two bogeys in four holes when the first patch of rain arrived, and it didn’t get much better. He had two more bogeys and was in last place until he fought back for a 72, leaving him three shots below the projected cut. If he doesn’t make the cut Saturday, Woods will not advance to defend his title next week outside Chicago.

“I’m going to have to shoot something good tomorrow, hopefully move up a little bit,” Woods said. “Get off to a better start than I did today.”

Scoring was so ideal that Johnson and Day had a 63 and still only had a one-shot lead—over eight players. That group included Ryder Cup hopeful Ryan Palmer, Rory McIlroy and Geoff Ogilvy, who had the best score of anyone in the afternoon.

That they finished the first round was a bonus considering the Earl forecast. More surprising was that the wind never arrived, and late starters only had to cope with the nuisance of an occasional shower.

“It had the potential to be the most lopsided draw in history,” Ogilvy said. “It was way better than we assumed it was going to be.”

The outer bands of Earl began arriving right after Johnson and Day finished. But after a 1 1/2 -hour rain delay, there was little more than a breeze along with a few bursts of rain, none long enough that Woods ever put on a rain jacket.

Woods’ problem was putting his tee shots into the short grass—he missed eight of 14 fairways—and not converting enough putts. He officially entered the BMW Championship next week, a formality, and now has to finish inside the top 70 in the FedEx Cup standings. Woods started the week in 65th place.

Phil Mickelson, with his 10th chance to replace Woods at No. 1 in the world, opened with a 69.

Getting to the third round of the playoffs is not an issue for Johnson. His hopes this week start with the Ryder Cup, knowing that Corey Pavin will announce his four captain’s picks on Tuesday in New York.

Most players believe Johnson is in good shape to get one of the picks, and opening with a 63 certainly didn’t hurt.

“It would be an honor, and I want to get on that team very, very bad,” Johnson said. “But you can justify the case for a number of guys. I’m not concerned about it. I’m going to let things fall where they fall. I feel like if I keep performing decent, then I’ll have a pretty good chance.”

Day, the 36-hole leader last week at The Barclays, shot 30 on the back nine.

Defending champion Steve Stricker, who has an outside shot to go to No. 1 in the world this week, was in the group at 65. Matt Kuchar, who won last week at The Barclays and leads the FedEx Cup standings, was in the group at 66.

Scores

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