- US PGA Championship, 1st Round
Furyk and Scott shine in the gloom
Jim Furyk and Masters champion Adam Scott shared a one-stroke lead at the end of a long first day at the US PGA Championship at Oak Hill, a storm break in the afternoon extending play into the New York twilight.
The later starters had to deal with an unexpected break. With thunder rumbling nearby and a line of storms bearing down on Oak Hill, the round was suspended for 71 minutes. The players hustled to the clubhouse, just ahead of a downpour.
Overnight rain had already softened the course and made low-scoring possible. Furyk was out early and threw down a marker with a five-under-par round of 65 which was spoiled by a bogey on the final hole.
"You're usually disappointed to end the day with a bogey," Furyk shrugged. "But a 65 at the PGA, that's not so bad. I'm feeling very comfortable with what I'm doing with the driver. And this was one of my best putting rounds, if not the best putting round, I've had this year."
He was only briefly headed the leaderboard when Scott birdied the 14th - he had already reeled off five straight birdies from the fourth - but a bogey when he missed a five footer at the 16th meant he finished level with Furyk.
Close on their tail came Lee Westwood and Canada's David Hearn. Westwood was one of only two players to shoot a bogey-free round in what is his 63rd major while Hearn benefited from an early start, his excellent round bookended by bogeys. "That was a great experience for me," Hearn said. "I'm proud of the way I played. It just didn't go my way at the finish."
The attention early on was, as ever, on Tiger Woods and while not at his best he still turned at two under only to bogey the par-five fourth, one of the easier holes, and his hopes of a sub-par opening round ended when he double bogeyed the last hole. "The round, realistically, could've been under par easily," said Woods, but again it was a case of him failing to bring his otherwise excellent form into a major.
Phil Mickelson was another who looked rusty and his four birdies were accompanied by a brace of double bogeys in a round of 71. As the last stragglers came in through the gloom he was to be found on the practice range.
England's Paul Casey ended three under with Americans Robert Garrigus, Matt Kuchar and Scott Piercy and Australians Marcus Fraser and Jason Day.
Rory McIlroy started brightly to go three under after four but that was as good as it got and he slipped back to finish one under. Despite that, this was a step in the right direction for the defending champion.