Four days after Anthony Kim humbled Sergio Garcia in the Ryder Cup, he beat 29 players just as badly Thursday at the Tour Championship.
Showing no effects of a Ryder Cup hangover, Kim fired off eight birdies on his way to a 6-under 64 in his Tour Championship debut to build a four-shot lead over Masters champion Trevor Immelman, Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson.
Kim and the other nine Americans from the winning team rarely got through a hole without hearing someone in the gallery congratulate them on their five-point victory over Europe on Sunday. Kim was smiling just as wide as he did Thursday.
Vijay Singh wasn’t feeling it.
He only has to complete all four rounds at East Lake to capture the FedExCup, and that might have been the best part of his opening round at East Lake — he finished. But he started poorly, 5 over through 11 holes, before settling for a 73.
Kenny Perry, the Kentucky hero from the Ryder Cup, also found little reason to smile. He opened with a 76, and while that won’t take away from his memories of red, white and blue, what irritated him was a pink slip.
It was his summons for drug testing, the second of the year for the 48-year-old Perry.
K.J. Choi was the other with a 1-under 69.
The drama is gone from the FedExCup — Singh made sure of that with two victories — but perhaps there is one race that could come down to the wire.
Mickelson has a chance to win the Vardon Trophy for the lowest adjusted scoring average, and at 69.52 he leads Garcia (69.53) by one-hundredth of a point. Mickelson at least needs to finish ahead of the Spaniard to capture his first major award on the PGA Tour.
Leaderboard – Round 1:
1. Anthony Kim USA 64 – 6
2. Ernie Els SAF 68 – 2
Trevor Immelman SAF 68 – 2
Phil Mickelson USA 68 – 2
5. K.J. Choi KOR 69 – 1
6. Mike Weir CAN 70 E
Sergio Garcia ESP 70 E
8. Bubba Watson USA 71 +1
D.J. Trahan USA 71 +1
Kevin Sutherland USA 71 +1
Ben Curtis USA 71 +1