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Johnson, Day atop leaderboard in Boston

Photo by Daniel Kay

Photo by Daniel Kay

NORTON, Mass. -- Zach Johnson and Jason Day beat up on the course and beat the weather at the Deutsche Bank Championship.

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

Geoff Ogilvy, without a top 10 on the PGA Tour since he won the season-opener at Kapalua, was 8 under with three holes to play.

On perhaps the easiest day players will see all week, Tiger Woods made it hard on himself.

Woods put his FedEx Cup playoffs in jeopardy by making four bogeys through six holes, and he had to fight back in occasional bursts of rain for a 1-over 72. He was nine shots out of the lead, likely to start the second round three shots below the cut line.

If he were to miss the cut, he would not make it to the third round next week outside Chicago.

"I'm going to have to shoot something good tomorrow, hopefully move up a little bit," Woods said. "Obviously, get off to a better start than I did today."

For Woods and other late starters, it could have been much worse.

The outer bands of Earl began arriving right after Johnson and Day finished, with an original forecast of strong wind to follow. But after a rain delay of 1 hours, there was little more than a breeze along with the occasional downpour. Woods never put on a rain jacket.

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.

Johnson and Day were one shot ahead of a large group that included Ryder Cup hopeful Ryan Palmer, Hunter Mahan and Rory McIlroy, who made eagle on his last hole.

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.

One thing was clear under a gray sky south of Boston -- the early starters caught a big break. Even under conditions that were calm and dry, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway. The tour had to do that in case the first round was not completed Friday and the course turned into a swamp overnight.

Combine that with the shorter tees and accessible pins, and birdies were easy to find.

"There's a lot of deep scores out there," Day said. "It was out there today. Hopefully, this thing can blow through and not hit us too hard. But I'll probably try and put his round behind me and just focus on the next round."

What makes Johnson so appealing as a captain's pick is his short game, and that was evident Friday.

He chipped in from behind the 10th green for birdie on his opening hole, made a 30-foot birdie on the 11th, and his day got even better when he holed a 35-foot birdie on the 17th over a knob on the green. He made two birdies on the par 5s with his wedge game and hit his best shot on the par-3 eighth, a 6-iron to about 6 feet.

"This is probably the easiest this golf course can play," Johnson said. "So I'm not taking anything for granted right now. I'm excited about the remainder of the week."

Woods hit driver more times Friday than he did all last week at Ridgewood, and all but one of his missed fairways were to the left. He had to pitch out sideways on the 15th and scrambled just to make bogey.

He turned it around with consecutive birdies on the 17th and 18th, but lost three good chances on his front nine.

"I just didn't have it today," Woods said. "I wasn't really doing what I was supposed to be doing out there swing-wise, and then wasn't releasing the blade out there and was dragging it a little bit. It was a bad day all round."