Late birdie puts Kuchar in BMW driver's seat

By Steve Keating

LEMONT, Illinois (Reuters) - A red-hot Matt Kuchar birdied his final hole to take a one-shot lead in the opening round of the BMW Championship on Thursday while a baffled Tiger Woods watched his Cog Hill magic disappear.

"I've got good memories of this place, so it continued to go well for me today," said Kuchar, who cut his interview short because of a bout of laryngitis. "I was driving it well. I was actually doing everything well. It felt very good."

Heading to Celtic Manor for the October 1-3 Ryder Cup, Kuchar may well be the in-form player for the United States with seven top 10s in his last 10 starts, including a win at the Barclays that helped put him firmly atop the FedEx Cup standings.

Channeling the spirit of Bobby Jones wearing a sweater and tie, Moore rocketed into contention firing a Cog Hill record 29 on the back nine.

One over through 10, Moore drained seven birdies over his last eight holes, including five straight to finish with a six-under 65.

Briton Ian Poulter began his day with a double-bogey but recovered to shoot a five-under 66 to sit alone in third with South African Retief Goosen and South Korean Charlie Wi one shot further adrift after returning 67s.

Poulter's Ryder Cup team mate Luke Donald was also in contention after opening with a three-under 68 but Rory McIlroy had a day to forget stumbling to a five-over 76.

ROUGH SEASON

All 12 members of the U.S. Ryder Cup squad were in action and certainly captain Corey Pavin will be looking for more out of his team than what he saw on Thursday, particularly from Woods and world number two Phil Mickelson.

The opening round was another dip in what has been a rough year for Woods as he wrestles to come to terms with his recent divorce and another swing overhaul.

Woods opened with a double-bogey at the first and dropped another shot at the sixth to reach the turn at three-over.

Needing a top-five finish this week to secure a spot in the Tour Championship, Woods showed his fighting spirit remains intact hitting back with birdies at 10 and 11.

But he could not sustain the charge giving a stroke back with a bogey at 12 which was followed by a birdie on 14 before closing out a roller-coaster afternoon on a down note signing off with another bogey at the 18th.

"Got to keep plodding along," said Woods, who was four-over after six holes at the Deutsche Bank Classic before rallying to finish in a tie for 11th. "As of right now I'm only five shots back out of that spot. That's not bad.

Mickelson did not fare much better than Woods carding a one-over 72 to sit alongside Ryder Cup team mate Bubba Watson while Jim Furyk joined Woods on 73.

(Editing by Frank Pingue)