Justin Thomas wins Bridgestone Invitational for 3rd PGA Tour title of season

Tiger Woods made five birdies and just one bogey in his opening round

Tiger Woods on Friday teased his fans with a hot start to his second round at the Bridgestone Invitational, but could not maintain the run in a slightly disappointing day at a venue he has all but owned.

Sunday at Firestone will be the eighth time this year they play together in a tournament, and the number grows next week when they play the opening two rounds with Tiger Woods at the PGA Championship.

Woods, an eight-time victor at Firestone, took the advantage at the hard par-4 18th hole (his ninth) when he drained a 50-foot monster birdie putt to climb to three under.

The day started in terrific fashion, with four solid swings and birdies on the first and second holes.

He was at 14-under 196, three shots clear of Rory McIlroy (67) and Ian Poulter (70).

While McIlroy faltered, it was Kyle Stanley and Jason Day who made the biggest challenge to Thomas.

And a birdie from 12 feet on the 13th effectively sealed a first World Golf Championship title and the winner's cheque of $1.3m for Thomas ahead of the final major of the season at Bellerive Country Club. That made his steady play all the more meaningful for him.

"I've been coming since my dad took me when it was four players in the world series of golf back in the 60's", Wilmoth said.

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"I wanted that yellow hat and I asked [equipment manufacturer Titleist] if we could get some, but everything in stock was sent to Jarrod [in Australia], which is understandable. So tomorrow's going to be one of those days I'm going to have to go out there and post a low one and see what happens".

The World Golf Championships in Akron has a yearly economic impact of more than $21 million according to Firestone's website. "I'm really putting well", the 42-year-old American told Golf Channel.

Thomas, 25, took a three-shot lead into Sunday's final round of this year's tournament.

"My goal today I was trying to get to 18 under, because I knew if I got to that I didn't think anyone would catch me. You kind of get that two, three, four shot lead, it's, I don't know, it's different than one".

"I just want to have more chances to win tournaments", he said.

"It was very similar to the first day, " Woods said.

"I'm going to have to", Woods said of picking up the scoring pace in the third round. According to Titleist tour rep JJ VanWezenbeeck, a fitting session with Thomas prior to the Players in May showed the 9.5-degree TS3 gave the reigning PGA champ better ball speeds along with a desirable launch-to-spin ratio.

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