Rory McIlroy hopes his BMW Championship duel with Tiger Woods continues through the weekend rounds after the superstar duo put on a clinic to share the lead after round one.
Woods fired an eight-under-par 62 at Philadelphia's Aronimink Golf Club to equal the course record and earn his lowest opening round at a PGA Tour event since 1999.
But moments later, McIlroy also posted a 62 which featured a stretch of six straight birdies to join Woods atop the leaderboard at the penultimate event of the US$67-million playoffs series.
Woods and McIlroy hold a one-shot lead over young American Xander Schauffele (63) while World No.3 Justin Thomas (64) is in a four-way tie for fourth at six under.
Four-time major winner McIlroy says his inspiration to go deep in Friday's second round is to make sure he is in the mix with a red-hot Woods.
"Yeah, it would be awesome," McIlroy said of a weekend showdown.
"Tiger is sort of being a regular fixture on the leaderboard this year; (The Open) at Carnoustie was a lot of fun with him up there.
"We all benefit from Tiger Woods playing well, so I'm happy he's (contending) and it will be a great tournament if he stays up there."
The 14-time major winner Woods jumped out of the gates after teeing off the 10th hole, bagging three birdies in his first four holes before a stunning second shot from 242 yards into the par-5 16th hole.
He drained the five-foot eagle putt and then added birdies at the 18th (his 9th), 1st and 7th before his first mistake of the day led to a bogey at the par-3 8th.
RIGHT: Woods opened with an eight-under 62 to shoot his lowest first round at a PGA Tour event since 1999. PHOTO: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images.
But 42-year-old Woods bounced back with a birdie at the par-5 9th and is confident of shooting more hot scores on day two, when tee times will be brought forward due to thunderstorms.
"You definitely could do it ... the fairways are wide and the greens are soft and it's really not that long a golf course right now," Woods said.
"There are a lot of wedges (into greens) and you can give yourself at least 10, 12 looks (at birdie) and get on the hot run like I did."
Meanwhile, the Australian contingent is well behind.
Former BMW winner Jason Day sits five shots off the pace at three under after a 67, while Cameron Smith is a further stroke behind having signed for a one-over 71.
Marc Leishman started his title defence poorly, dropping four shots during a 74 which countryman Adam Scott matched.
Evin Priest, Australian Associated Press