Not even a 71-minute weather delay could rattle the nerves of Adam Scott on Thursday.
Scott fired a 5-under 65 in the opening round of the PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club to tie for the lead with Jim Furyk.
Scott and Furyk flirted with the course record (64) before late bogeys cost them. Scott missed the fairway on the par-4 16th to record his only bogey of the round. Furyk missed the fairway on number nine, his final hole of the day, and couldn’t get up and down for par.
“I felt like I could swing freely and I was hitting all the shots that I wanted to hit,” Scott said. “When you get something going for you in a major, sometimes you have got to be not afraid to get out of your own way and let go. It’s a good feeling when you can swing freely like that.”
Scott was dominating the course as few have in Oak Hill history, recording five straight birdies from the fourth hole to number eight. He made par on five straight holes following the weather delay before a birdie on the 14th gave him the outright lead.
Scott responded following the bogey on 16, making par from the left rough on the 18th.
“I was starting to feel it slip coming in on the last three holes,” Scott said. “And then to make one on 18 and get something out of the round that I felt could have been special was a nice feeling. I did play very well today, and it is nice to have 65 to show for that.”
Furyk was quick to credit his putter following his round, as he drained a 6-foot birdie putt on the 10th hole (his first) and a par putt on 11. After driving into the right rough on 16, Furyk bounced back and made a 40-foot birdie putt to move to 2-under.
His third birdie of his front nine came on 18, when he hit a four-iron to within a foot on his second shot. Furyk added birdies on one, four and seven.
“Obviously I’m pleased with the round,” said Furyk, who recorded back-to-back ninth place finishes in two tournaments leading up to the PGA Championship. “I’m just happy with the round. I really felt in control this morning.”
David Hearn and Lee Westwood sit one shot behind the leaders at 4-under. Hearn, who lost in a playoff at last month’s John Deere Classic, opened and closed his round with a bogey, but recorded six birdies to get into contention for his first major championship.
Westwood enjoyed a near-flawless Thursday, recording birdies on one, five, nine and 17 to go with zero bogeys. The talented Brit is seeking his first major championship.
Page 2 of 2 - Matt Kuchar, a two-time winner this season, leads a group of six players two shots back at 3-under. Current US Open champion Justin Rose is part of a group of 11 players at 2-under.
“It feels good for me to be in contention and I feel like I’ve been playing some really good golf the last few months,” Hearn said. “It’s nice to be in this spot early in the week.”
The world’s top two ranked players, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, each experienced disappointment on Thursday finishing at 1-over.
Woods made the turn at 2-under but struggled on his back nine, recording a double bogey on the ninth hole to cap off a closing nine of 38. A double bogey on the fourth left Mickelson at 3-over, but he rallied to get to 1-under before another double on the 18th.
“I feel like I played well today and made some nice key putts, and the key is I left it in all the good spots too,” Woods said. “I left it where I wanted to leave them, so I had some free runs at putts, especially the par putts.”